W.Va. makes small gains in energy efficiency

MORGANTOWN – A group that promotes energy efficiency puts West Virginia among the top five most-improved states in this year’s rankings, but it’s far from matching the leaders – Massachusetts and California.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released its annual state scorecard Wednesday. Joining West Virginia among the most improved are Mississippi, Maine, Kansas and Ohio.

The report says that after years of virtually no activity, West Virginia utilities have begun to roll out some small-scale efficiency programs for customers.

With residential consumers facing dramatic price increases, the report says energy efficiency is starting to gain traction as a way to lower energy bills. The report noted that West Virginia lawmakers also showed some interest in energy efficiency legislation in 2011, but the bill died in the House Judiciary Committee.

Analyst Annie Downs says the state has also committed to improving building codes, which would also improve energy efficiency.

Council director Steve Nadel said states are doing more and more each year – and must to maintain their rankings. That encourages other states to act.

“Effectively, we have a rising tide for energy efficiency that is lifting many boats,” he said.