STATE – Today, the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) released its annual report ranking states based on their policies and programs to encourage energy savings measures. The ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard puts New Jersey at #16, one place below last year’s rating.
The report calls attention to two central issues affecting New Jersey’s fall from 15th to 16th place in the ranking. Gov. Chris Christie has cut over $279 million from the Clean Energy Program, which funds energy savings improvements in the residential and commercial sectors. The governor also pulled New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a nine-state greenhouse gas reduction program which also provides funding for energy efficiency projects.
“Reducing energy use through efficiency and conservation saves residents money and reduces pollution. Because of Gov. Christie’s policies, New Jersey residents are losing money and the environment and public health are suffering,” said Christine Guhl, Sierra Club Field Organizer.
Half of the states in the Northeast are ranked in the top 10 for energy efficiency policies and programs. New Jersey held top-ten spots in 2006 and 2008, but has been losing ground every year throughout the Christie Administration.
The New Jersey Office of Clean Energy recently released a straw proposal allocating funding for efficiency programs for the next four years. This funding has been dramatically reduced compared to years passed and will limit the energy savings opportunities available to New Jersey residents and businesses.
The Office of Clean Energy is proposing an energy efficiency portfolio standard (EEPS) as a mechanism for increasing energy savings and funding for efficiency projects. An efficiency portfolio, or resource, standard (EERS) would require utilities to reduce energy demand in their service areas, resulting in lower costs for all utility customers. According to the ACEEE report, most states that have adopted Energy Efficiency Resource Standards are on track to meet their savings targets.
“New Jersey needs to adopt strong policies for energy efficiency. It is the cleanest and cheapest source of energy and creates more jobs than any fossil fuel. An efficiency resource standard will put money back in residents’ pockets and put New Jersey back in the top 10 for energy savings,” Guhl said.