Want to know where your state stands as far as commitment to energy efficiency?
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released their fourth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard last week. The poll is a broad, comprehensive analysis of a variety of different factors that contribute to progress in increasing overall energy efficiency including information about residential, commercial, industrial and transportation energy use in each state. It looks at laws, policies, programs and incentives that residents are exposed to concerning energy use and how that successful they are at increasing efficiency and reducing waste. According to their website, the ACEEE is an independent, non-profit watchdog group that is focused on the advancement of energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection.
The 2010 poll put California in the number one spot for the 4th year running. The state has occupied the top spot since the ACEEE began publishing its findings in 2006. According to information in the report, California nabbed the top spot because of its efforts in consumer energy efficiency programs and incentives, utility decoupling, alternative business models, reward structures for consumer efficiency and policies establishing efficiency as a priority resource.
Runner-up Massachusetts was recognized in particular for their comprehensive demand-side management programs which are aimed at systematically reducing unnecessary consumption, particularly in residential settings where electricity use is easiest to predict and control. The state’s efforts toward decoupling, energy efficiency incentives and “efficiency as a resource models” were also noted.
Rounding out the top ten states for energy efficiency this year were:
8.Conneticut* (Tie w/Minnesota for 8th Place)
The top ten for the previous report in 2009 were:
5. New York
9. Rhode Island
There was comparatively little change year to year in the leading states, with the most significant developments being Connecticut’s tumble from 3rd to 8th position and Rhode Island climbing two spots to occupy the number seven slot.
However there was considerable activity in the lower echelon, with many states shifting several positions since the 2009 survey. The most improved states were Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Alaska – all of which climbed at least 8 spots to finish out the 2010 figures with much higher rankings. The ACEEE recognized the southwestern states in general as being a region where the pace of change has seen positive increases recently. Arizona and Utah made their way into the top 20 for the first time since the scorecards were conceived.
However, the report didn’t yield all smiles and congratulations. For many states, the scorecard is a stinging reminder of the need for improvement in a system that is wasteful, aging and surprisingly resistant to change. The Midwest in particular claims the most states in need of sweeping improvements. Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas were counted among the 10 worst states for energy efficiency and North Dakota came in dead last.
Some state governments have taken their poor standing as a call to action. Officials in #46 Kansas in particular have been vocal about implementing measures to improve their state’s overall energy efficiency in a variety of ways, saving resources and perhaps scoring better on subsequent tests. These measures range from establishing better consumer incentives to adopting a utility decoupling plan in their state as well. “Everybody recognizes there is room for improvement,” said Cara Sloan-Ramos, spokeswoman for the Kansas Corporation Commission.
However the Midwest wasn’t all bad news: interestingly, Iowa was one of the top performers at #12 overall. The state is definitely an energy efficiency leader among states that are similar geographically and economically. It was recognized in particular for deploying extensive customer efficiency incentive programs which the state made available across all different grades of utility consumers including residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural. The state also requires utilities to participate in a goal-setting system which requires utilities to sustain an effort towards increasing efficiency. The state should serve as an example for its neighbors as it is surrounded by #39 South Dakota, #47 Nebraska, #46 Kansas, #43 Missouri.