U.S. Reaches Energy Efficiency ‘Tipping Point’
The United States has reached a “tipping point” for energy efficiency, with Massachusetts sneaking past California as the highest-performing state and Maryland showing the most year-over-year improvement, according to the annual energy efficiency scorecard released last month by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
The Council pegged savings from electricity efficiency programs in 2014 at about 25.7 million megawatt-hours (MWh), equal to about 0.7% of retail electricity sales across the country. Natural gas savings totalled 374 million therms (MMTherms), a 35% increase over 2013.
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“As states move to frame their plans under the federal Clean Power Plan, this year marks a tipping point for energy efficiency,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel. “State policies are increasingly encouraging utilities to invest in cost-effective efficiency, prompting them to adopt new business models that align their interests with those of customers and policy-makers.” The result: US$7 billion in energy efficiency investment by utilities over the last year.
“Governors, legislators, regulators, and citizens are increasingly recognizing that energy efficiency is a crucially important state resource,” said lead author Annie Gilleo. “Many innovative policies and programs that promote energy efficiency originate at the state level.”
The report identifies Massachusetts, California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, and New York as the top nine states in the scorecard, with Minnesota and Illinois tied for tenth.