On January 29th, Massachusetts announced new energy efficiency standards for utilities supported by $1.6 billion in incentives. The new requirements call for a statewide reduction of 2.4 percent in electricity use and 1.15 percent in natural gas use annually for three years. The 2008 Green Communities Act required the state to establish specific efficiency targets and a plan for how to achieve them. The incentives will encourage utility customers to conserve energy through measures like insulating their homes or replacing conventional light bulbs. There is a four fold increase in spending (from $150 to $600 million) for conservation incentive programs and consumer outreach.
Progress by the utilities in reaching these goals will be measured in a way that accounts for normal growth in electricity demand and decreased energy use from the recession. Through this plan, Massachusetts will surpass California in spending per person on conservation measures and also has a good chance of surpassing top-ranked California in the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s rankings of the most energy-efficient states.