California Tops ACEEE State Rankings for a Fourth Year

California Tops ACEEE State Rankings for a Fourth Year

California again leads the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's annual list of the states that do the most to advance energy efficiency, but Massachusetts is closing in on the Golden State and its four-year claim to the top spot.

The council released its annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard today (ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel's blog on the latest report is available at

"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,"  Nadel said in a statement today. "In particular, states are moving forward and advancing energy efficiency policies and programs in an effort to create jobs and stimulate their economies during a period of considerable economic uncertainty. While $11 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds was helpful in this process and there were setbacks in a few states, the overall story here is one of states getting done what Congress has so far failed to do."

In its annual review, the ACEEE ranked the states and the District of Columbia based on scores in each of six policy areas:

  • Utility and public benefits fund efficiency programs
  • Transportation
  • Building energy
  • Combined heat and power
  • State government initiatives
  • Appliance efficiency standards

Based on those scores, here are the states that made the top 10 this year:

1. California
2. Massachusetts
3. Oregon
4. New York
5. Vermont
6. Washington
7. Rhode Island
8. Connecticut, Minnesota, tied
10. Maine

... and the bottom 10:

42. Louisiana
43. MIssouri, Oklahoma and West Virginia, tied
46. Kansas
47. Nebraska
48. Alabama
49. Wyoming
50. Mississippi
51. North Dakota

Key findings this year included:

California's level of investment in energy efficiency across the state's economic sectors outdistanced that of all other states. The Golden State's total score was 45.5 out of a possible 50 points. Massachusetts took the No. 2 spot again this year but, narrowed the gap between first and second place with a score of 42.5 points.

State budgets for energy efficiency last year represent almost double the level of energy efficiency spending that occurred in 2007; over the period the amount increased from $2.5 billion to $4.3 billion. Between 2007 and 2008, electricity savings across the states increased 8 percent.

Twenty-seven states (twice as many as in 2006) have adopted energy efficiency resource standards that establish long-term, fixed efficienct savings targets -- or have them pending.

Twenty states have adopted, or are moving toward adoption, of the latest energy-saving buildings codes for commercial and residential properties. That double the number that was charted last year.

Four states climbed eight spots or more in the rankings between 2009 and this year. Alaska and New Mexico each moved up eight spots; Arizona and Utah each moved up 11.

Arizona, for example, adopted new energy saving standards this year that call for a 20 percent reduction by 2020 compared to a 2005 baseline for sales. That mandate is expected to save ratepayers billions of dollars in the next decade said Arizona Corporation Commission Chair Kristin Mayes. Energy efficiency is not a politically partisan concept, she said, "it is just a good idea, and everybody should be doing everything can for it."

In some good-natured ribbing and competition among state agencies participating in a presentation today, Mayes challenged the states at the top of the list. "Arizona is not going to be content until it is No. 1," she said. "Look out, California and Massachusetts, we are coming for you."

On a more serious note, ACEEE pointed out there are definite areas for improvement and examples of less than praiseworthy tactics by even some leading states:

"While steady progress on energy efficiency is evident across most of the country," the report said, " several leading states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia, have made plans to divert millions of dollars of energy efficiency funds to balance the budget or reduce deficits, robbing their citizens of future energy savings and a more secure energy future."

The ACEEE 2010 state scorecard and report are available without charge, but registration is required for downloads, at

Rankings map and logo courtesy of ACEEE