New Hampshire's energy-efficiency potential
To the editor:NHBR recently reported that New Hampshire lags the region in its energy-efficiency efforts, according to a national scorecard by ACEEE ("Report: N.H. lacking in energy efficiency," NHBR.com).Unfortunately, the Granite State is falling behind neighbors that have truly embraced the potential of energy efficiency as a cost-effective way to meet energy needs while helping customers control costs, reducing emissions and creating good local jobs - all at about a third the cost of generating new electricity from power plants.It is a shame that New Hampshire has slipped in these annual rankings, in part because there are many people who do "get it" in terms of efficiency, and they are working hard to help the state's businesses and residences harness its potential. New Hampshire's elected officials, regulators, utility companies and other leaders should take these results as a challenge to catapult forward in next year's scorecard - and wring much more out of every energy dollar.According to "From Potential to Action," a new report released by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), New Hampshire could curb its electricity use by about 20 percent by 2018 - all with cost-effective, tried-and-true energy-efficiency programs and common-sense policies.Together, New England states have the potential to increase gross state product by $54.6 billion and create thousands of jobs in the region through energy efficiency, according to the report. In total, the region could save 31,800 gigawatt hours of electricity and cut CO2 amounts equivalent to the annual emissions of 3 million cars.We hope New Hampshire will demonstrate its values of Yankee thrift, community spirit and concern for the natural world with much more ambitious and comprehensive strategies to capture cost-effective energy efficiency. While it's nice to have bragging rights, the true reward will be in lower energy costs, more comfortable homes, cleaner air and a more sustainable economy.Natalie Hildt Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships Lexington, Mass.