Kansas named among ‘most improved’ for energy efficiency, still trails most of nation

Kansas was named one of the “most improved” states in America for energy-efficiency programs, although the state remains in the bottom 10 with much room to improve.

The state rose from 45th among the 50 states and District of Columbia last year, to a tie with South Carolina for 39th on the annual scorecard of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The results were announced at a national telephone-based news conference held by ACEEE officials and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Overall, Kansas earned 11.5 out of a possible 50 points, a three-point gain from last year.

That was enough to put Kansas in the top-five most improved states, although it still lags way behind the national leaders, Massachusetts, with 42 points and California, 41 points. Wyoming ranked dead last with 5.5 points.

“We do this to improve all states, whether it’s the leaders or the followers,” said Steve Nadel, executive director of ACEEE.

“The Department of Energy has supported the scorecard program since 2008 and is really very pleased to do so,” Moniz added. “It’s a critical tool for us to unite leaders, for energy policy makers being called on to make informed decisions about energy efficiency; and entrepreneurs and business leaders as well, who of course are confronted with making investment decisions.”

In the rankings, Kansas earned higher-than average marks for state-led initiatives, scoring five out of a possible seven points in that category.

Analysts cited the Efficiency Kansas program that provides loans for upgrading heating, air conditioning and other systems. They also praised the state for leading by example with energy efficiency requirements for public buildings and motor fleets.

The state also showed improvement for promoting energy efficient building codes.

But energy-efficiency programs through the state’s utilities ranked near the bottom of the scale, scoring half a point out a possible 20.

“The state reported well below-average levels of investments and savings for electricity and natural gas energy efficiency programs,” the Kansas section of the report said. “There is significant room for growth in this policy area.”