Massachusetts has been declared the most energy efficient state in the nation, knocking California out of the No. 1 position for the first time in four years, according to a national scorecard that ranks states’ energy efficiency programs.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released its fifth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard last week. While Massachusetts garnered the top spot for the first time, the Golden State slipped to second place, after holding the top position for the first four editions of the scorecard.
“Massachusetts regulators have sent a very consistent message that they want to ramp up their energy-efficiency programs. California has been staying even, and Massachusetts has been flooring it,” Steven Nadel, the Council’s executive director, told the Los Angeles Times.
Next year, Massachusetts is on track to reduce its electricity demand by 2.4 percent, the newspaper reported, while California will cut its demand by 1 percent.
Rounding out the top 10 most energy-efficiency states were New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Connecticut and Maryland, which made its first appearance in the top 10 this year.
The 10 states most in need of improvement were, starting in last place, North Dakota, Wyoming, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri, Alabama and South Dakota.
The six most improved states included Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, Alabama, Maryland, and Tennessee.
Michael Sciortino, the report’s lead author, said states can use energy efficiency as a strategy to generate cost savings, promote technological innovation and stimulate economic growth, even during a recession.
“Clearly, 2011 has not been kind to our economy, but energy efficiency remains a growth sector that attracts investment and creates jobs,” he said in a statement.
To draw up its annual scorecard, the Council analyzed states’ energy efficiency programs and policies in the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation sectors, including utility programs, transportation policies, building energy codes, state government initiatives and appliance energy standards.