State By State, Energy Efficiency Rated

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The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released the fifth edition of its State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Massachusetts was a newcomer to the top spot, while California dropped to the number two slot (it had been number one for the past four years).

The U.S. states were ranked by ACEEE for their efficiency strategies.

The remaining top 10 states are: New York; Oregon; Vermont; Washington; Rhode Island; Minnesota, Connecticut; and Maryland (making its first appearance in the top 10 and also one of the six most improved states in the 2011 ACEEE Scorecard).

The 10 states most in need of improvement are: North Dakota; Wyoming; Mississippi; Kansas; Oklahoma; South Carolina; West Virginia; Missouri; Alabama (also one of the top six most improved states); and South Dakota.

Meanwhile, the six most improved states are Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, Alabama, Maryland, and Tennessee.

“Energy efficiency is America’s abundant, untapped energy resource and the states continue to press forward to reap its economic and environmental benefits,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. “The message here is that energy efficiency is a pragmatic, bipartisan solution that political leaders from both sides of the aisle can support. As they have over the past decades, states continue to provide the leadership needed to forge an energy efficient economy, which reduces energy costs, spurs job growth, and benefits the environment.”

“Thanks to our investments in innovation and infrastructure, Massachusetts is now leading the nation in energy efficiency,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. “Through our Green Communities Act, we set aggressive goals and laid the foundation for greater investment in energy efficiency — and now we are proud to be a model for the nation and world.”

How ACEEE Evaluates The States

The fifth edition of the ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard presents a comprehensive ranking of the states based on an array of metrics that capture best practices and recognize leadership in energy efficiency policy and program implementation. The Scorecard benchmarks progress and provides a roadmap for states to advance energy efficiency in the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors.

The Scorecard examines six state energy efficiency policy areas and presents these results in six chapters: (1) utility and public benefits programs and policies; (2) transportation policies; (3) building energy codes; (4) combined heat and power; (5) state government initiatives; and (6) appliance efficiency standards. States can earn up to 50 possible points in these six policy areas combined, with the maximum possible points in each area weighted by the magnitude of its potential energy savings impact.

The ACEEE Scorecard documents the following trends:

  • Total budgets for electricity efficiency programs increased to $4.5 billion in 2010, up from $3.4 billion in 2009. Combined with natural gas program budgets of about $1 billion, total energy efficiency budgets in 2010 equal about $5.5 billion. Given the increasing regulatory commitments to energy efficiency, this growth will likely continue over the next decade.
  • Twenty nine (29) states have either adopted or have made significant progress toward the adoption of the latest energy saving building codes for homes and commercial properties — up from 20 in 2010 and 10 in 2009.
  • Twenty four (24) states have adopted an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), which sets long term energy savings targets and drives utility sector investments in energy efficiency programs. States that adopted EERS policies in 2007 and 2008 are now realizing significant energy savings and moving ahead in the Scorecard rankings.
  • States continue to improve policies to reduce financial, technical, and regulatory barriers to adoption and deployment of combined heat and power (CHP) systems, which generate electricity and thermal energy in an integrated system. Tremendous potential remains for CHP, particularly in states with heavy industrial and manufacturing bases.
  • A group of leading states remains ahead of the curve in adopting policies to reduce vehicle miles traveled and promote the purchase and manufacture of efficient vehicles. A major gap exists, however, as over half the states have minimal or no policies to encourage efficiency in the transportation sector.

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