The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released its sixth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, finding that the top 10 energy efficiency states are Massachusetts (in its second year atop the rankings), California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota. The 10 states most in need of improvement (starting with last) are Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, and Nebraska.
The three most improved states are Oklahoma, Montana, and South Carolina. All three states significantly increased their budgets for electric efficiency programs in 2011. Oklahoma put in place natural gas efficiency programs for the first time in 2011, and Montana dramatically increased its budgets for these programs.
Other states making significant progress this year include Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, all of which increased budgets for energy efficiency under their statewide energy savings goals.
Key findings include:
- Massachusetts retained the top spot in the State Scorecard rankings for the second year in a row, based largely on its continued commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act of 2008. Among other things, the act spurred greater investments in energy efficiency programs by requiring utilities to save a large and growing percentage of energy every year through efficiency measures.
- Annual savings from all customer-funded energy efficiency programs topped 18 million MWh in 2010, a 40 percent increase over a year earlier. This is roughly equivalent to the amount of electricity the state of Wyoming uses each year.
- Utility budgets for electric and natural gas efficiency programs rose to almost $7 billion in 2011, a 27 percent increase over a year earlier. Of this, $5.9 billion went to electric efficiency programs, with the remaining $1.1 billion for natural gas programs.
- Nearly half of the states (24) have adopted and adequately funded an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, which sets long-term energy savings targets and drives investments in utility-sector energy efficiency programs. The states with the most aggressive savings targets include Arizona, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
- Ten states have adopted energy efficiency codes for new building construction that exceed the IECC 2009 or ASHRAE 90.1-2007 codes for residential and commercial building construction. Two additional states, Maryland and Illinois, have advanced even further by adopting the most recent and most stringent code for residential construction, the 2012 IECC.
The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard benchmarks all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to the policies and programs that encourage the efficient use of energy in many sectors of the economy. The report examines six of the primary policy areas in which states typically pursue energy efficiency: utility and “public benefits” programs and policies; transportation policies; building energy codes; combined heat and power policies; state government-led initiatives around energy efficiency; and appliance and equipment standards. The baseline year against which ACEEE assessed policy and program changes varies by policy category. Policy scores are based on policies in place as of September 2012.