The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE ) released their 5th annual state scorecard on energy efficiency yesterday and the results, not surprisingly, support that the efficiency sector continues to grow and create jobs. The report found that the nationwide budget for electricity efficiency programs increased $1.1 billion from 2009 to 2010, and that the overall energy efficiency budget for 2010 was $5.5 billion.
For the first time in four years, the number one ranked state in the country was not California. Massachusetts forged ahead to be the leader of energy efficiency in 2010 due to their better policies and results from energy efficiency programs and better CHP policies.
The report ranks states by six efficiency policy areas: (1) utility and public benefits programs and policies; (2) transportation policies; (3) building energy codes; (4) combined heat and power; (5) state government initiatives; and (6) appliance efficiency standards.
Here in the Southeast, two of our states, Tennessee and Alabama received the honor of being some of the “most improved states”! The report noted that both states made major upgrades to their residential and commercial building codes, which contributed to their score getting close to Number 1.
Tennessee moved from 35th place in 2010 to 30th in 2011, while Alabama moved from 49th to 43. Interestingly, even though Alabama is one of the most improved states, it also is part of the most in need of improvement – showing that there is still plenty of efficiency opportunity that needs to be captured.
Unfortunately, South Carolina was also included in the states most in need of improvement, as its ranking fell six points from last year. A lack of electricity and gas efficiency funding and savings, as well as weak state policy on building energy codes, CHP and transportation allowed South Carolina to continue to slip to the rear of the rankings.
Southeastern 2011 State Scorecard Ranking
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Florida also moved up in its rankings, although it has still not achieved the score that it did in 2008. North Carolina was recognized for having a leading state policy on combined heat and power, which offers a 35% credit for the cost of CHP systems, among other eligible energy property. However, North Carolina was down overall from the 2010 scorecard due to a loss in points from the utility program and policy category, and CHP ranking overall.
Even as some of our Southeastern states show improvement, they all clearly have more room to continue to grow energy efficiency policy and programs, as none of our states have made it to the top 10 yet. The best prospect for achieving a top 10 ranking is probably North Carolina, which has better policies than most other Southeastern states as well as strong growth in energy efficiency programs led by Duke Energy and Progress Energy.
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