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Wyoming 48th in national energy efficiency study

Posted: Thursday, Oct 11th, 2012

PINEDALE – The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released a report ranking the most energy efficient states in the nation regarding policies, program efforts and practices. The Cowboy State ranked 48th out of 51.

The report is based on six primary policy areas – utility and public benefit programs, transportation policies, building energy codes, combined heat and power policies, state government-led initiatives and appliance and equipment standards.

Scores were based on policies in place as of September of this year, except for utility and public benefits programs, which were based on data from 2011 and 2010.

Wyoming’s lowest score was in the utility and public benefits programs, with 2.5 out of 20 points.

“[ACEEE] reviewed and ranked the states based on their performance in implementing utility-sector efficiency programs and enabling policies that are evidence of states’ commitment to energy efficiency,” the report reads.

In building and energy codes, the state scored 2 out of 7, and the report stated, “Wyoming does not have mandatory statewide energy codes for either residential or commercial buildings.”

In other sections, Wyoming scored 1.5 out of 7 in state government incentives; .5 out of 5 in combined heat and power – a system more efficient than separating the two; and a zero out of 2 in appliance efficiency standards.

The state also had a score of zero out of 9 for transportation policies but, as Ben Avery, business and industry division director for the Wyoming Business Council, pointed out in the Casper Star Tribune, Wyoming ranks low in transportation efficiency because subways, bus lines and commuter trains are not conducive to Wyoming’s spread-out, rural nature.

“Some of these things are because of topography. We have distances that are more difficult to overcome,” Avery said in the Tribune.

The top three states with the best transportation policies are California, New York and Massachusetts, all of which have high populations and dense urban centers.

The news was not all bad for the Cowboy State, though, as it improved its rank by two from a year ago. Questar Gas Company and Montana-Dakota Utilities Company were also mentioned as leaders in encouraging more energy efficient systems.

There is always room for improvement, and ACEEE suggested certain policies states could put in place to improve energy efficiency. These recommendations include adopting updated building energy codes, requiring stringent tailpipe emissions standards for vehicles, establishing specific energy savings targets and expanding state-led efforts to increase efficiency.

ACEEE is a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance energy efficiency programs and policies throughout the country; it has been in place for the past 30 years.

To read the entire report, visit aceee.org and click publications.

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