WASHINGTON - California tops the list of states employing energy efficiency as the “first fuel” to grow their economies while meeting electricity demand, combating global warming, and contributing to U.S. energy security, according to a new report released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The 2008 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard rates and ranks state-level action on energy efficiency policies, programs, and practices. With California claiming the No. 1 ranking, Idaho rates as the “most improved” state since ACEEE’s first state scorecard report graded state action through 2006.

“The top ranked states are demonstrating great leadership in promoting energy independence with cost-effective energy efficiency investments,” said Maggie Eldridge, research associate at ACEEE and lead author of the report. “By setting innovative policies and programs that help consumers save energy, states are using energy efficiency as the first line of defense against rising energy prices while increasing our nation’s energy security, fostering economic prosperity, and combating global warming.”

ACEEE’s state-by-state analysis found that first-place California was followed by Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and Washington. Minnesota and Massachusetts tie for seventh place, with Wisconsin and New Jersey rounding out the final two spots in the Top 10.

“We applaud these leading states for embracing a wide range of the proven-effective and readily-available efficiency strategies that will most quickly move our nation closer to energy independence to the benefit of our economy, environment, and national security,” said Eldridge. “Our scorecard puts the spotlight on the leading and most improved states to encourage others to step up their efforts to make energy efficiency the routine way of doing business and part of our everyday lives.”

The most improved states since the 2006 scorecard was issued were Idaho (from 25th ranked to 13th ranked), Florida (from 29th to 19th tied), Maryland (from 20th to 12th), Ohio (from 27th to 19th tied), Illinois (from 26th to 19th tied), Louisiana (from 42nd to 35th), Arkansas (from 45th to 38th), and Virginia (from 38th to 32nd).

“These states have stepped up efforts in various important ways, such as setting aggressive new energy savings targets, ramping up funding for programs, or improving efficiency of the state’s own public buildings and vehicle fleets,” said Max Neubauer, policy program research assistant and co-author of the report.

The 2008 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard report is available for free download at www.aceee.org/pubs/e086.htm.

Publication date:10/27/2008