ACEEE analyses state energy efficiency markets


The whitepaper, The 2016 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, highlights efforts implemented by US states in enhancing adoption and implementation of energy efficiency technologies and programmes.

The paper discusses of the progress and impact of state policies  encouraging utilities and consumers to rely on energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions and ensure grid reliability.

The whitepaper is ACEEE’s 10th edition and ranks states according to their use of energy efficiency measures/initiatives.

Energy efficiency funding and benefits

According to the whitepaper, the US has invested more than $7.7 billion in energy efficiency programmes throughout 2016.

The $7.7 billion in investment was made possible by an increase in private-public partnerships investing in energy conservation.

Moreover, stakeholders in the energy conservation sector were able to attract huge amounts of capital to fund energy efficiency programmes, due to the presence of policies leveraging an increase in energy efficiency measures.

US federal state governments increased drafting and implementation of policies encouraging the adoption of energy efficiency to meet carbon emission targets set under the Clean Power Plan.

Utilities have also identified energy efficiency as a measure to offset large investments in developing new power generation plants.

States energy efficiency status

According to ACEEE, energy efficiency has been found to be helping create local jobs and improve local economies.

The whitepaper notes that California and Massachusetts have been leading US states in adoption of energy efficiency technologies since January, 2016.

ACEEE give credits to California and Massachusetts for their ability in increasing their energy efficiency policy portfolios.

For instance, California was able to increase its investments in energy efficiency programmes by adding two new bills to the already existing Clean Jobs Act and Global Warming Solutions Act.

The state’s introduction of the Assembly Bill 802 and the Senate Bill 350 in 2015 has largely contributed to the growth of its 2016 energy efficiency market.

Massachusetts which has topped the US energy efficiency list for more than six years, has continued to expand its energy efficiency market through the Green Communities Act of 2008.

Due to the positive impacts of policies on the energy efficiency landscape in Massachusetts, the state has recently increased its energy efficiency targets by 3% to be met in two years time.

ACEEE ranked Vermont and Rhode Island at number three followed by Connecticut and New York.

[quote] The US states which scored the highest improvements in adoption of energy efficiency technologies since the first quarter of 2016 are Missouri, Maine and Michigan.

Missouri showed a significant change by recording an increase in utility savings, transportation, building energy codes and state government-led programmes.

Rhodes Island, Massachusetts and Vermont are leading in the utility sector’s energy efficiency.

Illinois, Maryland and Oklahoma recorded a decrease in energy savings from energy efficiency programmes due to their failure to improve and draft more policies on energy conservation. [ACEEE discusses energy efficiency funding]

Of all the US states, no state scored total points thereby highlighting the potential of more growth opportunities in their energy efficiency.

However, ACEEE recommends that states improve their energy efficiency markets by:

  • Establishing and adequately fund EERS or similar energy savings target programme
  • Adopt updated, more stringent buildings energy codes, improve code compliance and enable efficiency administrators to be involved in code support
  • Set quantitative targets for reducing VMT and integrate land use and transportation planning
  • Explore and promote innovative financing mechanisms to leverage private and lower upfront costs of energy efficiency measures
  • Expand and highlight state-led efforts such as funding for energy efficiency incentive programmes.



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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.