4 important storylines from 2014’s biggest state-by-state energy efficiency ranking

Last week, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy unveiled its 2014 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.

The annual ranking -- which evaluates all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. -- scores states on how well they’re performing in six distinct categories of energy efficiency, including utility programs, transportation policies, and building energy codes.

We saw some familiar themes in the 2014 scorecard -- and a couple surprises. Here are four big efficiency stories that continue to play out on the national stage.



1. The race for #1 is still a snoozer

The energy world is going through a huge shake-up right now. New policies and  standards are changing the energy mix, and utilities are revamping their business models for the first time in a century. But if there’s one thing that stays the same, it’s this: Massachusetts claims the top spot on ACEEE’s annual scorecard.

And for good reason. The Bay State has won gold four years running thanks to its exceptional efficiency policies, which earned it a whopping 42 out of 50 possible points in 2014. Even more exciting, Massachusetts’s innovative utilities earned a rare, perfect 20 out of 20 score for successfully implementing energy efficiency programs across customer sectors.


2. West Coast states are pulling away from the pack

All three states on the West Coast finished in the top ten for this year’s scorecard: California (#2), Oregon (tied for #3), and Washington state (#8). This is a reflection of the deep commitment shared by states and utilities in the region to constantly improve energy efficiency.

Leading utilities -- like Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy -- are helping drive huge savings for customers in Washington. In California, Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE) is revolutionizing the use of smart meter data to empower customers with the information and insights they need to save energy. And, on the policy front, all three states are leaders in implementing the regulatory frameworks that ensure energy efficiency is a win-win for customers and utilities alike.


3. Efficiency is catching on in some unlikely places

In addition to spotlighting states that led the nation, ACEEE also highlighted those that are climbing up the rankings -- such as Arkansas and Kentucky.

As we’ve previously pointed out, Arkansas’s strong efficiency programs are creating more than 9,000 jobs and $1 billion in sales revenue every year. Kentucky is on track to make similar gains. In 2008, when Governor Steve Beshear unveiled a seven-point strategy to help strengthen Kentucky’s energy security, point number one focused squarely on increasing energy efficiency. Since the plan was unveiled, the Bluegrass State has saved a staggering 1,270 gigawatt-hours of energy -- enough to take about 90,000 Kentuckian homes off the grid for a year.


4. Plenty of states still have room to improve

While plenty of states made progress in this year’s ranking, others are lagging behind. Alaska, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming rounded out the bottom of ACEEE’s list, and represent the states with the most room for improvement on energy efficiency.

ACEEE also specifically called out Indiana, which dropped 13 spots in the ranking this year after doing away with its long-term energy savings targets.


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