Even as Congress failed to take major action on climate and energy legislation in 2010, states across the United States achieved major new strides in energy efficiency, according to the 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard from the nonprofit and independent American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Among the major state advances highlighted in the fourth edition of the ACEEE Scorecard are: a near doubling of state energy efficiency budgets from 2007 spending levels; the adoption or active consideration by over half the states of Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) that establish long-term, fixed efficiency savings targets; and a one-year doubling of the number of states that have either adopted or have made significant progress toward the adoption of the latest energy-saving building codes for homes and commercial properties.
The key state-specific rankings in the 2010 ACEEE Scorecard are as follows:
* The four most-improved states – Utah (tied for #12, up 11 spots from 2009), Arizona (#18, up 11 spots), New Mexico (#22, up eight spots), and Alaska (#37, up eight spots) – climbed at least eight spots since the 2009 Scorecard. In general, the Southwest region demonstrated considerable progress from 2009 to 2010.
* California retained its #1 ranking for the fourth year in a row, outpacing all other states in its level of investment in energy efficiency across all sectors of its economy. The balance of the top 10 states: Massachusetts (#2, holding steady) ; Oregon (#3, up from #4); New York (#4, up from #5); Vermont (#5, up from #6); Washington (#6, up from #7); Rhode Island (#7, up from #9); Connecticut (tied for #8, down from #3); Minnesota (tied for #8, holding steady); and Maine (#10, holding steady).
* The 10 states with the most room for improvement in the Scorecard (which includes the District of Columbia) are: Louisiana (#42, down one spot); Missouri (tied for #43, down two spots); Oklahoma (tied for #43, down four spots); West Virginia (tied for #43, up two spots); Kansas (#46, down seven spots); Nebraska (#47, holding steady); Wyoming (#48, up three spots); Alabama (#49, down one spot); Mississippi (#50, down one spot); and North Dakota (#51, down two spots).
ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said: “Even as Washington dawdles on climate and clean energy, states are moving ahead with considerable vigor on these vital matters, with energy efficiency initiatives leading the way. In particular, states are moving forward and advancing energy efficiency policies and programs in an effort to create jobs and stimulate their economies during a period of considerable economic uncertainty. While $11 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds was helpful in this process and there were setbacks in a few states, the overall story here is one of states getting done what Congress has so far failed to do.”
New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary James Noel said: “New Mexico has taken a number of steps under the leadership of Governor Richardson to improve energy efficiency, including making sure new buildings are constructed to higher energy-saving standards and boosting utility energy-saving programs and services. These steps will save consumers energy and money and create good local jobs that can’t be outsourced.”
DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan said: “States have a critical role to play in supporting job creation and economic growth as part of America’s clean energy economy. Under the Recovery Act, states across the country are making major investments in clean energy technologies and innovative approaches to improving energy efficiency that will continue to benefit our homes and businesses for years to come.”
Arizona Corporation Commission Chair Kris Mayes said: “Arizona’s move up in the ranks this year reflects the state’s hard work doing everything possible to help citizens lower energy bills and increase the state’s energy security through greater energy efficiency.”
OTHER MAJOR FINDINGS
* Texas (#32) and New Hampshire (#22) dropped the farthest in the 2010 Scorecard, down nine spots each.
* State budgets for energy efficiency in 2009 are almost double the level of spending in 2007, increasing from $2.5 billion to $4.3 billion. Reported electricity savings from energy efficiency programs across all states increased 8% between 2007 and 2008 (the most recent available data).
* 27 states have adopted or have pending Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) that establish long-term, fixed efficiency savings targets – double the number of states in 2006. These states account for two-thirds of electricity sales in the U.S.
* 20 states have either adopted or have made significant progress toward the adoption of the latest energy-saving building codes for homes and commercial properties – double the number of states in our 2009 Scorecard.
* While federal transportation efficiency policy has progressed significantly this year with the adoption of new fuel economy standards and plans to set standards out to 2025, states are taking the lead to fill in the gaps in transportation opportunities. California, Massachusetts, and Washington have implemented transportation-specific greenhouse gas reduction targets while several other states have adopted policies to encourage the creation of compact and transit-oriented communities.
* While steady progress on energy efficiency is evident across most of the country, several leading states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia, have made plans to divert millions of dollars of energy efficiency funds to balance the budget or reduce deficits, robbing their citizens of future energy savings and a more secure energy future.
* The injection of more than $11 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds directly to state energy efficiency has helped stimulate significant progress in funding and creating new energy-saving programs that are saving consumers money and putting people to work.
The full report is available by sending a request to [email protected] with the words “Energy Scorecard” in the subject line of your e-mail.