WASHINGTON — The global race to become more energy efficient in the face of impending climate change-induced destruction has gripped the hands of legislators at every level — regardless of where they stand on the controversial issue.
While Maryland may be a mere drop in the global energy consumption bucket, Gov. Larry Hogan has not taken lightly his responsibility to clean up his state’s own backyard for the sake of the environment.
During the past few years, Hogan has pushed to erect windmill farms, install solar panels on the roofs of state-owned institutions and allocate funding for environmental restoration efforts, among other initiatives.
As the most recently released numbers show, Hogan hasn’t been all bark and no bite with his green energy production goals for the state.
Maryland was just ranked No. 7 among the U.S.’s most energy efficient states, and the state was deemed “Most Improved” from 2018, according to a report released Oct. 1 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
The report shows Maryland moved up three spots from its 2018 No. 10 ranking on ACEEE’s Scorecard. ACEEE attributed this improvement to Maryland’s focus on “utility efficiency programs, stronger building energy codes, public transit funding and electric vehicle adoption.”
Hogan, who has said he wants to put Maryland on a path to 100% clean electricity by 2040, said his administration is “proud that Maryland continues to be a national leader for energy efficiency.”
“Our initiative to reduce energy consumption in state-owned buildings by 10% is just one of the many ways Maryland is leveraging energy efficiency measures to cut carbon emissions, save money, and improve the environment,” he said.
The states above Maryland in ranking included Massachusetts at No. 1, California at No. 2, Rhode Island and Vermont tied at No. 3, New York at No. 5, and Connecticut at No. 6, according to ACEEE’s labeled scoring map.
While the report shows a record number of states improved their energy efficiency, it also shows some have taken steps backward.
The report named Kentucky as having “lost ground” in its clean energy production — and Wyoming and North Dakota are among those the report deemed as “lagging behind.”
In a press release, ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel applauded the states that have shown improvements in energy efficiency for their leadership in clean energy.
“State leadership on energy efficiency is more important than ever for ushering in the low-carbon future we need,” Nadel said. “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.”
Nader urged states that are “lagging” to implement the strategies outlined in the ACEEE’s report as a means to delivering “energy and cost savings for their residents.”
Some of those strategies included promoting electric vehicle use, adopting stricter emissions standards, updating and strengthening codes for residential and commercial buildings, and adhering to the federal light bulbs standards, which have been threatened by President Donald Trump’s administration.
ACEEE began its national energy Scorecard in 2006. Maryland has been ranked in the top 10 for the past nine consecutive years.
To read the full ACEEE report and to see how states are ranked, visit https://aceee.org/press/2019/10/50-state-scorecard-reveals-states.