During the last decade in America, the 50 states have increasingly taken energy efficiency policy into their own hands. And they are having success, according to an analysis published last week by the US Energy Information Administration.
In 1999, Texas became the first state to establish a broad statewide efficiency goal, requiring that utilities curb growth in electricity demand by 10% each year.
Since then, 28 additional state legislatures have instituted similar statewide efficiency goals — also known as “energy efficiency resource standards” (EERS) — that call for utilities to reduce energy consumption over time (e.g. by providing customers with targeted information, advice, and rebates that promote energy savings).
For example, Delaware passed legislation in 2009 that requires its utilities to decrease statewide electricity consumption by 15% and natural gas consumption by 10% by 2015. The below map shows the states, like Texas and Delaware, that currently have energy efficiency resource standards in place (orange and green).
Across the country, these state-level policies have proven to be effective: between 2002 and 2011, states without EERS programs exhibited an average increase in per-capita electricity consumption of 9%, while the states with mandatory EERS programs had a per-capita increase of just 5% over the same period. Put another way, states that have adopted EERS policies have curbed their rate of electricity consumption growth by nearly half.
Or consider the energy efficiency policy success of Vermont, which set a goal of reducing cumulative electricity consumption by 6.75% (equating to approximatley 360,000 megawatt-hours) between 2009 and 2011. In line with this policy, statewide savings in 2010 reached 114,000 MWh — representing $79 million in net benefits (that is, after subtracting the cost of energy conservation programs and investments).
Later this week, one state will be recognized as having the best energy-efficiency policies and programs in the nation. The 2012 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard is scheduled to be published on Wednesday, by the American Council on an Energy-Efficient Economy. We’ll be reporting on it.
Which state do you think will top the scorecard? We’re putting our money on one of the green or orange states in the map.
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