The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy just released its 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The 50-state Scorecard reveals increasing state commitment to energy efficiency, the least-expensive clean energy resource, even where it had traditionally been overlooked. Research has shown that energy efficiency can slash U.S. energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050—getting us halfway to the U.S. climate goals. The 13th annual report identifies the leaders—Massachusetts and California; the most-improved states, notably Maryland; the states that lost ground, such as Kentucky; and those lagging behind, including North Dakota and Wyoming.
According to the Scorecard, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, New York, and Maine passed 100 percent clean energy goals, along with plans to increase efficiency investment. A record number of states adopted new efficiency standards for a variety of products and equipment, some in direct response to the federal rollback of standards for light bulbs. States have also countered the federal plan to weaken vehicle efficiency by promoting electric vehicles and adopting California’s vehicle emissions standards, which now face a precarious future.
The Scorecard awards a total of 50 points based on state policies and programs in six areas: utilities, buildings, transportation, state government, combined heat and power, and appliance standards. It highlights best practices for promoting energy efficiency, typically the lowest-cost way to meet customers’ energy needs. Such efficiency improves air and water quality, strengthens grid resilience, promotes equity, improves health and comfort, and helps address the climate challenge.
How did your state rate on the Scorecard? Click here to access the report. My home state of Ohio? According to the Scorecard, it fell in the rankings. It enacted a law this year that attempts to save the state’s aging power plants but guts energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. This is particularly disappointing because prior ACEEE research found that Ohio was one of the states with the most health benefits to gain from efficiency standards, which could save it up to $1.6 billion in avoided health impacts.