Opinions differ on energy efficiency spending

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The Douglas administration wants to boost spending on energy efficiency by 50% in the next two years.

But that’s about half what its consultant said would be cost-effective, and much less than environmental groups and key lawmakers want.

The Legislature passed a law last year calling on the state to spend as much as it needed to for cost-effective energy efficiency. Backers say efficiency is much more economical than buying more electricity.

Now the Department of Public Service is recommending that the budget for Efficiency Vermont grow from $17.5 million to about $26 million by 2008.

The consultant says it would be a good deal to increase annual efficiency spending to about $35 million, and that the investment would pay off three-to-one in the next ten years.

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