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November 15, 2012 | last updated November 15, 2012 11:15 am

Efficiency Maine plots 3-year energy-saving plan

A new Efficiency Maine study concludes that homeowners and businesses in the state could cut their overall energy consumption by 16% in the next decade by using more efficient lighting and appliances.

The Portland Press Herald reported that the study of the three-year-old Efficiency Maine program — which has so far spent $45 million — will need $175 million to achieve that efficiency over the next three years.

Released Wednesday by the Boston-based Cadmus Group, the study comes as the agency reaches the end of its initial three-year plan and looks to program its next three years, developing a blueprint that will need approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

The study indicates that $45 million in program spending was matched with $50 million in private participation to fund projects that are expected to lower total energy costs by $250 million for Maine ratepayers.

The study estimates that Mainers will spend nearly $3.4 billion buying electricity in the next three years.

It also detailed the perspectives of business and industrial site managers about the level of incentives that would make them consider energy efficiency upgrades.

Of businesses surveyed, 58% said they consider the payback period when they make energy efficiency upgrades and seven in 10 businesses said they want the investment to pay for itself within three years.

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