Monday October 8, 2018 0 comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the U.S. government loosens environmental rules, states are investing more in energy efficiency and delivering increased power savings, according to the 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
The 12th annual report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released today identifies the leaders (Massachusetts and California), the most-improved states, notably New Jersey, the states that lost ground such as Iowa, and those lagging behind, including North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Colorado placed No. 14 on the state rankings, joining other states that have unveiled plans to boost investments in efficiency and clean energy.
The scorecard offers mostly good news about energy efficiency -- the nation’s third-largest electricity resource.
In response to federal efforts to freeze U.S. vehicle and appliance standards, several states worked to retain their own standards and to promote electric vehicles as well as zero-energy buildings, the report notes.
The scorecard, which ranks states on 32 metrics in six areas, finds:
- New Jersey improved the most, moving up five ranks to No. 18. The Garden State set new annual energy savings targets and took 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 No.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, followed by Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, Minnesota, Washington and Maryland.
- Iowa fell the most, moving down five spots to No. 24. The 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 also fell in the rankings.
- States increased investments in energy efficiency in the utility sector. They spent nearly $8 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 U.S. homes per year.
- States ramped up efforts to promote zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), 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.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research group that explores energy-saving policies, programs, technologies, investments and behaviors.