Maryland must ramp up efficiency efforts in order to meet goals

Earlier this month, Maryland held onto its title as the country's ninth most energy efficient state, a ranking it was given in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. But the good news was tempered by a separate story revealing that, unless the state ramps up its efforts, Maryland will fall short of its own energy efficiency goals.

According to The Baltimore Sun, a new report from the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) indicates that the state is currently off pace for meeting its goal of a 15 percent reduction in electricity use by 2015. In order to help the state get back on track in achieving this, the report calls for utility companies to expedite its efficiency programs. 

Emily Scarr, director for Maryland PIRG, tells the source that while the EmPOWER Maryland initiative has already helped save $140 million in annual electricity expenditures, "we're also losing out because we're not fully implementing the program."

To help improve this outlook, Scarr calls for a change in strategy: Instead of focusing on "the low-hanging fruit" incentives, like offering rebates to consumers for replacing old appliances with more efficient models, the state will have to begin providing new options to help meet its 2015 goal.

While Maryland may be in danger of falling short of these deadlines, the amount of progress it has made in the last six years has been impressive in of itself. Since 2007, the state has jumped from 20th to ninth in ACEEE's national rankings, and is already set to achieve at least one goal: a 15 percent reduction in energy demand for the hottest days of the year.

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