WASHINGTON — Energy-efficiency measures continue to flourish in states across the country with several states, including California; Maryland; Illinois; Texas; and Washington, District of Columbia, taking major steps. That progress was evident in the ninth annual edition of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE’s) State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which is issued annually with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The top 10 states for energy efficiency are Massachusetts, California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, and New York, with Minnesota and Illinois tied for 10th place. Massachusetts retains the top spot for the fifth consecutive year, based on a strong commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act. In California, requirements for reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, major efforts to achieve energy efficiency in schools, and implementation of a cap-and-trade program earned the state several more points this year, putting it only a half point behind Massachusetts in the state rankings.
Twenty states improved in this version of the State Scorecard. California, a leading state, is also one of the most improved states this year. Maryland, Illinois, the District of Columbia, and Texas improved over the past year.
Overall, 16 states fell in the rankings this year, due to policy or program rollbacks or failure to keep pace as other states expanded efficiency efforts. The five states most in need of improvement (starting with the worst-ranked state) are North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Louisiana, and Mississippi, although new efficiency programs in Louisiana and Mississippi may quickly improve these states’ scores. While not in the bottom five states, New Mexico dropped the farthest in 2015, losing four points and falling six positions from 25th to 31st in the rankings.
“As states move to frame their plans under the federal Clean Power Plan, this year marks a tipping point for energy efficiency,” said Steve Nadel, executive director, ACEEE. “State policies are increasingly encouraging utilities to invest in cost-effective efficiency, prompting them to adopt new business models that align their interests with those of customers and policymakers. We can see this taking hold in the 20 states that improved their Scorecard rank in 2015. Utilities across the U.S. invested more than $7 billion in energy efficiency over the past year alone.”
Publication date: 12/7/2015