Northeast Gets High Scores For Energy Efficiency
An annual scorecard ranks the Northeast states among the best in energy efficiency policies. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks five states in our region among the top 10 nationally.
This is the ninth annual release of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. It ranks states for overall energy efficiency policies and also assesses areas that include utility and public benefits programs; transportation programs; building energy codes; and state government initiatives.
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy State Policy Manager Annie Gilleo, the report’s lead author, said their research found that it’s the states that are developing innovative efficiency programs. “We’re continuing to see state leadership view efficiency through the lens of economic development. Each dollar invested in energy efficiency yields on average over $2 in benefits to all customers. We’re seeing state leadership choose efficiency as a pathway to bring jobs to their state and to put dollars back in customers’ pockets.”
Gilleo went on to outline the top states, with Massachusetts leading the rankings. “Massachusetts has some of the most ambitious energy savings targets in the country. And it’s hitting them. So Massachusetts earned a perfect score for its utility programs and policies in this year’s scorecard. Following California, in order, are Vermont then Oregon and Rhode Island in a tie for fourth, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, New York and finally Illinois and Minnesota with a tie for tenth.”
Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton expressed pride at being ranked the top state. He noted that the Baker-Polito administration is committed to achieving a 25 percent reduction of emissions below 1990 levels by 2020. Beaton says energy efficiency is a crucial part of that initiative. “Energy efficiency is our most accessible and lowest cost source of energy supply, delivering financial savings for tenants, homeowners, business owners, state governments, cities and towns. It is a critical driver of greenhouse gas emission reductions and a central pillar for meeting Massachusetts’ climate plan goals for 2020.”
While Massachusetts takes the lead in the scorecard, most New England states are strongly ranked. Gilleo says there are a variety of reasons the Northeast is out front in energy efficiency. “States may be looking at lowering customer energy bills. They may be looking at solutions for cleaner energy and they may be thinking about reliability and resiliency. So all of those are reasons why states in the Northeast and elsewhere are looking toward energy efficiency. In the Northeast we have seen that many of these states have adopted mandatory energy savings goals in the utility sector and that has really been the framework for pushing energy savings to higher and higher levels each year.”
Beaton adds that the Northeast is uniquely positioned due to specific energy challenges relative to other states. “It helps us to lower costs. It helps us to lower load. It helps us to address our peak demand times. So across the board when you look at all the available resources for generation, and in this case conservation, energy efficiency really makes sense to be the first resource for us to go after because it helps us on so many levels. Especially in the unique climate that we’re in where we experience some very, very cold days and some very, very hot days. So energy efficiency across the board just helps us to address all of the things that we are trying to accomplish with our energy policy.”
Electricity savings from ratepayer funded energy efficiency programs delivered in 2014 reached 25.7 million megawatt hours, an almost 6 percent increase over the previous year’s savings. Natural gas saving increased more than 30 percent compared to the previous year’s scorecard.