New energy efficiency scorecard shows improvements in standards

According to a report released earlier this month, failure of the federal government to agree on energy efficiency standards has not stymied states from moving ahead on their own. The 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), found budgets remain strong for energy efficiency initiatives, nearly doubling from their 2007 levels.

Despite a mixed picture across states – with some states dropping several spots and others making gains – twenty-seven states have adopted or have pending Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS). EERS establish long-term, fixed efficiency savings targets. According to the scorecard, the number of EERS states has doubled since 2006, and these states account for two-thirds of the electricity sales in the US.

“Even as Washington dawdles on climate and clean energy, states are moving ahead with considerable vigor on these vital matters, with energy efficiency initiatives leading the way,” ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said in a statement.

Failing to pass significant climate or energy policy, the federal government has helped in other ways, the report said. Through the Recovery Act, $11 billion has gone to state energy efficiency efforts and energy-saving programs.

“Under the Recovery Act, states across the country are making major investments in clean energy technologies and innovative approaches to improving energy efficiency that will continue to benefit our homes and businesses for years to come,” said DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan.

Even with this boon of cash, the report chided states who are diverting “millions of dollars of energy efficiency funds to balance the budget or reduce deficits,” including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia.

Some of the most improved states were concentrated in the southwest, with Utah (tied for #12, up 11 spots from 2009), Arizona (#18, up 11 spots), and New Mexico (#22, up eight spots), rounding out the top three most improved.

California, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York and Vermont were 2010’s top five.

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