A ‘dramatic Photo finish’ for the Bay and the Golden State
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released in September ‘The 2016 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard’ report which ranks states on their energy efficiency policies and program efforts. With this 10th edition of the Scorecard, ACEEE aims to encourage states to continue strengthening their commitment to efficiency, thereby promoting economic growth and environmental benefits.
The Scorecard examines the six policy areas in which states typically pursue energy efficiency:
· Utility and public benefits programs and policies
· Transportation policies
· Building energy codes and compliance
· Combined heat and power (CHP) policies
· State government–led initiatives around energy efficiency
· Appliance and equipment standards
The winners and the TOP 10
This year, the top spot is shared between California and Massachusetts, with the Bay State earning the #1 position in each of the previous five years. It is the first time it shared 1st place with the Golden State, which last held the title in 2010. The winner States scored an impressive 45 points out of a possible 50, and the scores of both were improved over last year’s (1 and 1.5 point for Massachusetts and California respectively). It seems that competition between the states did indeed help drive progress!
The other States in the top 5 are: Vermont (#3), Rhode Island (#4), Connecticut and New York (tied for #5), all of them being among the leaders in the past, showing the continuing commitment and progress of the top tier states. The top 10 is completed with states that have well-established efficiency programs such as Oregon (#7), Washington state (#8), Maryland (#9), and Minnesota (#10).
The most and less improved States
Missouri was the most-improved state this year, adding 5 points to its score thus leaping an impressive 12 positions in the rankings (improvements shown in utility savings, transportation, building energy codes, CHP, and state government-led programs). Maine and Michigan also showed remarkable progress, and just missed the top-10 list, going up three spots to tie for 11th. On the other hand, Illinois fell the farthest, losing 4.5 points and falling three positions in the rankings. This drop shows the need for states to consistently update and improve their policies.
The lead author of the scorecard, ACEEE’s Weston Berg, put it this way: “Over the last 10 years, we have seen that many if not most innovative policies and programs that promote energy efficiency originate at the state level. As a cost-effective compliance option, efficiency is a valuable addition to any state’s policy toolkit, saving money, driving investment across all sectors of the economy, creating jobs, and reducing the environmental impact of energy use.”