According to the most recent State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released Wednesday by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Massachusetts is still #1, while basically all US states continue to move strongly to advance energy efficiency initiatives regardless of which political party is at the controls.
The ACEEE State Scorecard lists Massachusetts as the most energy-efficient state in the US for the second year, followed by California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota.
It also listed the 10 states most in need of improvement: Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, and Nebraska, while Oklahoma, Montana, and South Carolina come in as the three most improved states, having significantly increased their budgets for electric efficiency programs during 2011.
“These findings show that energy efficiency is being embraced by Republicans and Democrats alike at the state level,” ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said. “That nonpartisan status is crucial because too many conversations about U.S. energy policy begin with the false premise that the only way to safeguard our reliable energy future is to expand our supply.
“While some supply investments will be needed, the truth is that step one should always be energy efficiency, our cheapest, cleanest, and fastest energy resource. Energy efficiency improvements help businesses, governments, and consumers meet their needs by using less energy, saving them money, driving investment across all sectors of the economy, creating much-needed jobs, and reducing environmental impacts.”
Other Key Findings
- Massachusetts overtook California as the #1 state for energy efficiency last year, 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 megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2010, a 40% 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% 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 (EERS), 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.
“We are proud to have maintained the number one spot in the nation because of our continued focus on innovation and investments in energy efficiency,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. “Our Green Communities Act is cutting our dependence on imported energy sources, creating jobs and leading the way to a more sustainable energy future for Massachusetts.”
ACEEE Senior Policy Analyst and State Scorecard lead author Ben Foster said: “We find that more and more states are taking action to improve energy efficiency and move up in our rankings, and it’s no secret why they want to accomplish that:energy efficiency is a pragmatic and effective strategy for promoting economic growth, creating jobs, and securing environmental benefits. The Scorecard serves as a benchmark that encourages states to continue strengthening their commitment to energy efficiency.”