After four straight years of recognition as America's most energy-efficient state, California now must relinquish that enviable position to Massachusetts, reveals a new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Based in Washington, D.C., the organization operates as a catalyst to advance energy-efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors.
The ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard (fifth edition) 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. It also benchmarks progress by the states, and provides a roadmap for them to advance energy efficiency in the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors.
The other Top 10 states on the 2011 Energy Scorecard are New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Maryland. 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."
"We are excited that Michigan's positive action on energy efficiency is being recognized nationally," said Valerie Brader, chief energy policy officer for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The ACEEE report noted that Michigan's improvement is particularly due to the implementation of energy-efficiency programs advanced in state legislation P.A. 295.
According to one state official, Maryland citizens already have saved over 700,000 MWh of electricity and over $91 million since 2009, and the state's peak demand program has helped it avoid major blackouts during the recent record-setting summer heat wave.
Some trends identified by the ACEEE Scorecard include:
- Facing uncertain economic times, states are continuing to use energy efficiency as a key strategy to generate cost-savings, promote technological innovation and stimulate growth.
- 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.
- 29 states have either adopted or 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).
- 24 states have adopted an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) that 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.
- A group of leading states remains ahead of the curve in adopting policies to reduce vehicle miles traveled and promoting 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.