State-Level Efficiency Policies Driving Energy Efficiency to Unprecedented Heights

Two studies show that requiring utilities to set targets for saving energy is a strong policy for states.

States across the country are reaching or exceeding their energy savings goals established through Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS).

ACEEE finds that state EERS policies are driving energy efficiency investments and energy cost savings to unprecedented levels.

From 2004-2010, 24 states followed the lead set by Texas and Vermont in establishing an EERS, a policy that sets long-term energy savings goals for electric and natural gas utilities, much like a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) increases the percentage of renewable energy.

Efficiency policies are lowering people’s utility bills and reducing the need to build costly new power plants, according to reports released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The first report compares actual performance against EERS targets. 13 of 19 states with EERS policies in place for over two years are achieving 100% or more of their goals, three states are reaching over 90% of their goals, and three states falling below 80% of their goals are working hard to catch up, ACEEE says.

By law and rule, state energy efficiency programs must cost less than conventional electricity. Accordingly, utility efficiency programs are saving customers significantly more than they cost.

For example, in 2009 and 2010, Ohio utility customers saved $56 million in energy costs over and above the costs to deliver the programs. Over the lifetime of these programs, they are likely to save customers in excess of $750 million dollars.

"As a comprehensive national energy policy remains beyond the reach of Congress, states are taking action to show how bold energy efficiency policies can benefit residential, commercial, and industrial consumers," says Steven Nadel, ACEEE Executive Director.

The future promises still more savings from state EERS, since most EERS targets increase over the next decade. The second report, documents how utilities are planning to ramp up their efforts to hit these higher energy savings levels.

The report includes an analysis of six states with some of the largest and most successful energy efficiency programs – California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont.

In these states, utilities are employing new strategies to expand existing programs and add new ones, enhance advertising and promotion, and conduct innovative pilot projects.

Six more states – Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania – are rapidly ramping up state-of-the-art energy efficiency programs required to meet their increasingly higher targets. Utilities in these states are running fewer, simpler programs that can get the most energy savings as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

"Experts who specialize in these states say the potential for cost-effective energy efficiency is more than sufficient to meet the goals that have been established, and they put the likelihood of states continuing to meet their goals in the 90% range," summarizes Martin Kushler, ACEEE Senior Research Fellow. "The greatest challenge for the future isn’t technical – it’s inspiring the political will necessary to pass these energy and money-saving standards in every state."

Read the fact sheet here:

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Comments on “State-Level Efficiency Policies Driving Energy Efficiency to Unprecedented Heights”

  1. Connie

    they haven’t built all the cars for all the people yet; or are you wiilnlg to wait your turn? I do not think so. Everybody would take it if it was available to them and that service stations for them were already in existence. It is the same as going to Metric measurements If you were schooled with it no problem. But adults are schooled with Imperial measure, they won’t or can’t learn to convert no matter how much money the government throws at the program.Free Enterprise is a given no matter what system. But car manufacturers are focused on one thing, and that is to manufacture cars. They didn’t invent them. They just build according to specifications of the inventor. Remember too this is sort of comparable to the horse drawn carriage . For quite a time the horse was more reliable and faster than the early cars. So too with the green energy cars. You cannot compare them to gas guzzlers of today(that have over 100 years of research and development in them). Green is here. Get out and walk, or ride a bicycle. Those are available to you now.


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