WV Fails on Energy Efficient Report

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A poor rating for the Mountain State, being among the worst in energy efficiency. West Virginia ranks 49th.

A report by the American Council of Energy-Efficient Economy says after years of little activity the state is finally showing some promise for the future.

Wood County Commissioner Wayne Dunn says the state's reliability on mineral resources is a big factor leaving little opportunity for the future.

"It gives people, through the power plants in West Virginia what is perceived to be cheap energy so they don't have the incentive, they don't worry about the electric bills they have at their house too much," explains Dunn. "Well it's not so cheap."

He says the long term cost of not making an energy efficient transition is alarming, "the environment is a huge cost, health care is a huge cost, so these are hidden, the tax payers pay for these."

Dunn says Wood County is the first in the state to run a pilot program to get the process started. It's a two year pilot program for the area providing, what they hope to be, an energy saving opportunities. "We will do an energy assessment of individual homes and be able to tell people what they're likely to save and then it will be up to the homeowner to actually fund this."

Another factor in the Mountain state falling behind the time, Dunn believes, is the average income. He says for the state to move forward and to make this program work, the state and federal government must make an effort.

"Times are tight. Every year we have less disposable income so the government has to step in, West Virginia has not done that," says Dunn. "We have been behind."

With West Virginia being among the poor-er states, Dunn says it can seem like a double edge sword, those who can't spend money are the ones that need to save it the most. "They feel like they don't have the money to put towards home upgrades, even though for the next 20 to 25 years they are going to reap great benefits by doing it."

Dunn says the government must step up, the state risks falling behind if changes aren't made saying it's time to think outside of the box.

"We've got opportunities but the opportunities of the future will not be the same as what has moved us here in the past, we have to think beyond coal and we have to think to the technologies of the future."

Commissioner Dunn says the county is also making important changes in transportation with new hybrids and fuel efficient vehicles.

Ohio ranks 22nd in the report. Washington County Commissioner Cora Marshall says the county is making efficiency changes across the board.

She says they have negotiated a fixed rate for 2 years on both gas and electric. The county continues working on upgrading windows and replacing boilers to energy efficient. She also says any new appliances they put in as needed, most importantly furnaces, are the most energy efficient. Marshall it is important to make the forward progress for the county, saving money and the environment in the end.

For a full report visit on the over all report and individual states visit: aceee.org/sector/state-policy/scorecard

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