For the eighth year in a row, Massachusetts ranked number one in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)’s state scorecard for energy efficiency. The 12th annual 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard ranks states using a number of metrics.
Massachusetts scored highest on policies and programs in relating to utilities, buildings, transportation, state government, combined heat and power, and appliance standards. It was one of four states scoring over 40 points out of 50 in the rankings.
“Policymakers convened statewide energy efficiency planning efforts to set new three-year savings targets,” the ACEEE report said. “The state’s Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan incorporates a fuel-neutral savings target. This reflects a growing trend among northeastern states toward a holistic approach to energy savings that includes not only electricity and natural gas but also non-utility heating fuels.”
In addition, the scorecard pointed to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ order approving investments and upgrades to the state’s electric grid in May. The order authorized utility companies to invest $220 million over three years.
California came in a close second in the rankings due to efficiency efforts in buildings, transportation, and appliances, the ACEEE noted. Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, Minnesota, Washington, and Maryland rounded out the top states.
On the flip side, Iowa’s ranking dropped 3.5 points due to legislation that put a restrictive cap on efficiency programs and allows customers to opt out of paying for efficiency programs that fail to satisfy the ratepayer impact test. North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming ranked the lowest in the scorecard.
Several states substantially improved in the rankings this year, posting the largest point increases over their 2017 scores. New Jersey gained four points in 2018, the most of any state, primarily through passage of legislation establishing new annual energy savings targets for electricity and natural gas. Missouri, Colorado, South Dakota, and Connecticut also showed improvements.
“The scorecard offers mostly good news about energy efficiency — the nation’s third-largest electricity resource,” according to the ACEEE. “In response to federal efforts to freeze US vehicle and appliance standards, quite a few states worked to retain their own standards and to promote electric vehicles as well as zero-energy buildings.”
Among the key findings from the scorecard was that more states are pushing for zero-energy construction, primarily through tougher building codes.
“California calls for all new homes and commercial buildings to be net zero-energy by 2020 and 2030, respectively,” ACEEE says. “Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts have incorporated net zero-energy construction into long-range plans.”