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Arizona fell in national rankings for energy efficiency, according to a new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The state is now 23rd in the country, down four spots since last year.
The annual scorecard measures states’ progress on a variety of energy efficiency efforts, including utility programs and policies, transportation policies, building energy codes, and state government initiatives. ACEEE attributes Arizona’s fall in the rankings to:
● Decreased savings from utility energy efficiency programs,
● The absence of concrete strategies and metrics to scale electric vehicle adoption,
● A lack of uniform state and local building energy codes, and
● Outdated energy-saving standards for appliances.
The Arizona PIRG Education Fund and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project were disappointed with the news but remained optimistic that Arizona will gain ground next year thanks in part to recent actions by utility regulators. The organizations pointed to a recent vote taken by the Arizona Corporation Commission that will result in APS customers gaining access to more rebates and services to replace old air conditioners, swap out inefficient water heaters, upgrade lighting, patch air leaks, and otherwise cut energy waste. The organizations also cited that a majority of Commissioners have now voted twice to extend and expand Arizona’s Energy Efficiency to 35% by 2030, with a final vote expected in the first half of 2021.
“Arizona policymakers should strive to adopt and implement robust energy efficiency policies to save energy and save money for consumers,” said Diane E. Brown, executive director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “In the upcoming year, Arizona has a significant opportunity to become a leading state for energy efficiency through enacting efforts already underway such as extending and expanding Arizona’s very successful Energy Efficiency Standard, updating energy-efficient appliance standards, adopting strong building codes, and advancing a strong transportation electrification plan for our state.”
Ellen Zuckerman, Utility Program director for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project agreed and noted recent decisions by the Commission and the Salt River Project Board of Directors to establish long-term requirements for utilities to save energy and cut carbon emissions. “The goal of energy efficiency is to save money, create good jobs, and reduce toxic air pollution. Unfortunately, previous decisions to gut efficiency programs have cost Arizonans. The good news is that the Commission can act immediately next year to finalize new standards for efficiency and carbon emissions so that we can reclaim our title as the most efficient state in the Southwest.”
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