News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

California Second-Most Energy Efficient State

Weatherizing a home saves a huge amount of energy for heating and cooling | Photo: William Hartz/Flickr/Creative Commons License

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which released its sixth annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard today, California is doing better at conserving energy than any other state, save for Massachusetts. The ACEEE Scorecard rates states on their overall energy efficiency policy in area ranging from utility conservation policies to fleet vehicle fuel economy and distributed generation incentives. According to the Scorecard, Californians are expected to conserve at least 7,000 gigawatt hours of electricity in 2012.

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Other states in the top ten most-energy-efficient list, in descending order, are New York, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, and Minnesota.

According to ACEEE, Massachusetts beats out California by having better net metering programs and by including combined heat and power generation in its Renewable Portfolio Standard program. Massachusetts and California were numbers one and two respectively in last year's scorecard as well; California led the pack for the previous four years.

Mississippi ranks last among the states in ACEEE's estimation, taking 51st place (DC is included, and is solidly in the middle of the pack at #29.) North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, and South Dakota only beat out Mississippi by a slight margin. Still, even with the laggards, ACEEE says that energy efficiency programs are growing significantly with support crossing political lines, in Red states and Blue alike. Oklahoma, Montana and South Carolina in particular made significant gains in their programs in the last year, according to ACEEE.

"These findings show that energy efficiency is being embraced by Republicans and Democrats alike at the state level," said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. "Too many conversations about U.S. energy policy begin with the false premise that the only way to safeguard our reliable energy future is to expand our supply. While some supply investments will be needed, the truth is that step one should always be energy efficiency, our cheapest, cleanest, and fastest energy resource."

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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