How the most efficient states convince utilities to conserve energy

When it comes to promoting energy efficiency, it’s all about incentives.

The least energy efficient states in the nation have no efficiency resource standards in place, a new nationwide survey finds, and typically do not have policies in place that treat energy efficiency as a resource.

Conversely, state law in Massachusetts requires utilities to prioritize cost-effective energy efficiency over other resources when making procurement decisions, and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has named Massachusetts as the most efficiency state for the fourth consecutive year.

Essentially, development of specific energy savings targets for utilities or independent statewide program administrators is one of the most direct and effective efforts a state can take to become more efficient, according to the ACEEE’s annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.

“States are truly at the forefront of energy efficiency policy in the United States,” said Maggie Molina, Director of ACEEE’s Utilities, State, and Local Policy program.”What we’ve found is when the right state policy tools are in place, consumers are then in power to make smarter efficiency choices.”

This eighth version of the scorecard greater emphasis on utility and public policy, and for the first time includes a metric worth negative points. ACEEE notes, for instance, that the past year has seen a rise in efforts from large customers to completely opt out of energy efficiency programs. The report subtracted one point from states that allow such opt outs without requiring customers to demonstrate equivalent investments in energy efficiency.

For the most part, the rankings bear out as might be expected—states in the southeast and states with significant oil and gas production find themselves ranked lower in efficiency. The more efficient states have a reputation for valuing efficiency and green power. The scorecard uses a 50-point scale, with 20 of those possible points coming from the utility sector.

Massachusetts, for example, has a perfect 20/20 utility score in ACEEE’s rankings.

California was followed by a three-way tie between Oregon (15/20 utility score), Rhode Island (20/20) and Vermont (18.5/20). On the lower side of the list, North Dakota (0/20) was named the least-efficient state, followed byWyoming (2/20), South Dakota (3.5/20), Mississippi (1/20) and Alaska (0/20).

But a closer look at ACEE’s findings reveals policy similarities impacting utilities, ratepayers, and the ancillary industries built around the power industry…

Full Article @ Utility Dive

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