Reinvent RI: Energy efficiency boosts state's economy
Dec 09, 2012 (The Providence Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Ocean State has stronger programs for the efficient use of electricity and heating fuels than all but six other states in the nation, according to the latest annual rankings from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.
Those efforts have been so successful that starting in 2015, according to the operator of the regional power grid, electricity use in Rhode Island will reverse a years-long course and start declining. Without the savings created by the efficiency programs, demand would continue to climb.
Savings have been achieved across the state. Naval Station Newport has cut energy consumption by 37 percent from a baseline set in 2003. The Town of South Kingstown reduced use at its municipal buildings by 23 percent from 2008 to last year. By installing a new air conditioning system at its data center in East Providence, Citizens Bank estimates that it will achieve electric savings equivalent to what 167 homes use every year.
Efficiency is especially important in New England, where energy prices are generally higher than in other parts of the country.
But the economic benefits of saving energy aren't just confined to lower bills. Efficiency projects, which can also include complex heating and electrical systems, create thousands of local jobs in consulting, engineering and the building trades and pour hundreds of millions of dollars back into the local economy.
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