Massachusetts, California lead in energy efficiency - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Energy Procurement, Regulation  -  October 9, 2018

Massachusetts, California lead in energy efficiency

The 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) shows Massachusetts and California as leading the country, with New Jersey as most improved.

With the release of its 12th annual report, the ACEEE noted that "as the US government loosens environmental rules, states are investing more in energy efficiency and delivering increased power savings."

The report cites Iowa as losing ground, while North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming are also lagging behind in energy efficiency.

Overall, states increased investments in energy efficiency in the utility sector. They spent nearly $8.0 billion last year, up from $7.6 billion in 2016. The result was a 7.3% increase in electricity savings (nearly 26.5 million megawatt-hours) — enough to power about 2.5 million US homes per year.

The report said, "In response to federal efforts to freeze US vehicle and appliance standards, quite a few states worked to retain their own standards and to promote electric vehicles as well as zero-energy buildings. While some, like Iowa and Connecticut, saw legislative attacks within their states, others — including Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, and Arkansas — unveiled plans to boost investments in efficiency and clean energy, often driven by concerns about climate change."

The scorecard ranks states on 32 metrics in six areas. Among the results:

  • New Jersey improved the most, moving up five ranks to #18 by setting new annual energy savings targets and taking steps to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state cap and trade emissions compact. 
  • Missouri, Connecticut, Colorado, and South Dakota showed marked improvement.
  • Massachusetts continued to rank #1 overall. It launched a plan to set new three-year energy savings targets and approved utility spending for grid-scale modernization. A close second is
  • California ranked second, followed by Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, Minnesota, Washington, and Maryland.
  • Iowa fell the most, moving down five spots to #24. This drop was due mostly to a bill signed earlier this year that imposes a restrictive cap on efficiency programs and allows customers to opt out of paying for some of them. Sixteen other states fell in the rankings.
  • States ramped up efforts to promote zero-emission vehicles, mostly electric, as the federal government sought to freeze fuel economy standards for cars and SUVs. California joined with eight other states in rolling out an updated ZEV plan, which incentivizes consumers to buy ZEVs
  • More states pushed for zero-energy construction(buildings that produce as much power as they use) largely through tougher building codes. California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington, the District of Columbia and Massachusetts have incorporated net-zero-energy construction into long-range plans.


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