For the seventh consecutive year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) named Massachusetts the most energy-efficient state in the United States. The council’s 11th annual report, released September 28, 2017 in the wake of recent extreme weather events, highlighted the importance of energy-efficiency as a tool to help communities recover from storms and economic shocks. While many states, such as Idaho, Florida, and Virginia made vast improvements over last year, Massachusetts continued to pave the way for sustainability through continued leadership in energy-efficient transportation policies and utility-sector energy efficiency programs.
Founded in 1980, the ACEEE is a national leader in expertise on energy efficiency. The nonprofit organization cooperates closely with government leaders, the private sector, research institutions, and other nonprofits on initiatives in energy policy, research, and outreach. ACEEE leads substantive technical policy analyses, conferences and workshops, and consumer and business education initiatives, all with the goal of advancing energy efficiency policies, technologies, and investments.
The energy efficiency ranking Scorecard includes an assessment of six key policy areas: utility and public benefits; transportation, building energy codes and compliance, combined heat and power, state government-led energy efficiency initiatives, and appliance and equipment standards. The methodology was also updated this year to include additional consideration for energy efficiency programs designed to serve low-income customers, reflecting research that shows low-income households spend three times as much on their household energy bills as a percentage of their income as other households.
The success of Massachusetts in energy-efficient transportation policies and utility-sector programs helped it stay at the top of the rankings. The state is in the midst of its 2016-2018 Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan, which establishes strong objectives for energy savings. Goals of 2.94% and 1.24% energy demand reductions in electricity and gas sales, respectively, are estimated to accrue benefits to the state in the amount of $8 billion. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has led the nation in delivering local financial incentives to promote smart growth development in cities and municipalities. The ACEEE’s recognition underscores the continued role of Massachusetts as a leader in energy and sustainability practices in the United States, which has been made possible by the many energy companies and their allies continuing to innovate and grow throughout Massachusetts.