PROVIDENCE, R.I. – For the third consecutive year, Rhode Island has ranked third in the nation for energy efficiency programs and policies, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
The annual ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard assesses state policies and programs that improve energy efficiency in our homes, businesses, industries and transportation systems. Cost-effective energy efficiency is a critical tool for putting downward pressure on electric and natural gas prices, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and spurring economic growth in the clean energy economy. Rhode Island has ranked in the top 10 for the past 11 years.
"Rhode Island continues to make tremendous strides towards fostering a greener, more energy-efficient grid," said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "Energy efficiency is doing more than reducing our bills and carbon emissions—it is also a major part of our clean energy economy, creating more than 9,000 jobs for Rhode Islanders."
According to the 2019 Rhode Island Clean Energy Industry Report, 59 percent of Rhode Island's clean energy jobs are in energy efficiency and the number of jobs is expected to grow.
"The cleanest, most affordable energy our residents and businesses can use is to not use it at all, which is why expanding access to cost-effective energy efficiency measures is so vital to our clean energy future," said State Energy Commissioner Carol Grant. "Over the past year, we have made great strides to expand our leading energy efficiency programs to more people."
Recent additions to Rhode Island's energy initiatives include the Achieving Community Efficiency (ACE) pilot program which provides personalized technical assistance to participating towns and school districts looking to lower their energy use, as well as the Governor's Executive Order to transform Rhode Island's heating sector, advancing the state's development of clean, efficient, and reliable heating technologies.
"State leadership on energy efficiency is more important than ever for ushering in the low-carbon future we need," said ACEEE executive director Steve Nadel. "If states embrace robust energy-saving measures nationwide, Americans can slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and deliver more than $700 billion in energy savings by 2050. We commend the top states for their clean energy leadership and urge states that are lagging to implement the strategies laid out in this report so they can deliver energy and cost savings for their residents."
According to the report, Rhode Island earned high marks in the following areas.
• Utilities – Rhode Island was the only state other than Massachusetts to earn a perfect score for its utility policies and programs by setting and achieving aggressive energy savings targets in both electricity and natural gas. This is the sixth year in a row that the State earned a perfect score in this category.
• State Government-Led Initiatives – Rhode Island's public sector was recognized for contributing to the State's energy efficiency successes, earning a perfect score. Governor Raimondo's Lead by Example Executive Order on energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives has led state facilities to reduce energy consumption and emissions, providing an example for municipalities, businesses, organizations and citizens to follow. Furthermore, the state offers a number of energy efficiency programs including the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program (C-PACE), administered by the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, which enables companies to finance 100 percent of their energy efficiency improvements.
• Building Policies – Last year, the state issued new voluntary building guidelines – known as "stretch codes" – to support the development of energy efficient buildings and to lower energy costs for building owners and occupants.
The full report may be downloaded at http://aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard. Rhode Island's scorecard may be downloaded at https://aceee.org/sites/default/files/pdf/state-sheet/2019/rhode-island.pdf.