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Local Government Commission

Currents - A Quarterly Energy Newsletter For Local Governments

Winter 2012

California Loses No. 1 Spot in Efficiency Ranking

California fell to the No. 2 spot in new energy efficiency rankings, dropping out of the top slot it held for the first four editions of a scorecard from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Massachusetts took the top ranking for the first time, according to the report, which compares states according to a set of metrics that capture best practices.

The report examines six state energy-efficiency policy areas: utility and public-benefits programs and policies; transportation policies; building energy codes; combined heat and power; state government initiatives; and appliance efficiency standards. Rounding out the top 10 states are New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Connecticut and Maryland.

The report notes that Massachusetts’ continued implementation of its 2008 Green Communities Act was central to its success in the ranking. The act has been the basis for greater investment in energy-efficiency programs in the state.

In one important, heavily weighted area—utility and public-benefits programs and policies—California actually scored fifth, behind Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Minnesota. In this area, ACEEE ranked states based on enabling policies and performance implementing utility-sector efficiency programs. This area represented 40 percent of the scorecard’s total possible 50 points.

The report also detailed the following trends:

  • Total budgets for electricity efficiency programs continue to increase.
  • Twenty-nine states have either adopted or made significant progress on energy-saving building codes.
  • Twenty-four states have adopted long-term energy savings targets, which drive utility efficiency programs.
  • States continue to improve policies to reduce barriers to deploying combined heat and power.
  • While leading states remain ahead of the curve in adopting policies to increase vehicle efficiency, over half of U.S. states have minimal or no such policies to encourage transportation efficiency

The report is available at: