Several U.S. states a blazing the trail on green energy initiative but California is way ahead in terms of installed solar capacity (solar photovoltaic – PV – panels and solar thermal technology) while Texas is ahead in generated wind power. The initiatives by the federal government aimed at developing and deploying renewable technologies are enshrined in the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The recent addition to the Clean Air Act under Section 111(d) is the Clean Power Plan and it provides a framework for states urging them to increase their power production through renewable sources.
Renewable Fuel Standard has been established by the Energy Independence and Security Act and its role are to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor fuel used in domestic transport to make sure they contain a specified volume of renewable fuel, cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and biomass-based diesel. However, the federal policy makes room for states to decide how they want to implement them.
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEE) has put together a scorecard which is now used as a standard for determining states making strides towards renewable energy and efficient energy usage. The ranking of states by the ACEE scorecard was based on six policy area; utility and public benefits programs and policies, transportation policies, building energy codes and compliance, CHP policies, appliance and equipment standards, and state government-led energy efficiency initiatives. The states topping the list are as follows;
The state first overtook California in 2011 and has since remained on the list. The stellar energy efficiency of Massachusetts is linked to the Green Communities Act passed in 2008. The report by ACEE shows that,
“Among other things, the legislation spurred greater investments in energy efficiency programs by requiring utilities to save a large and growing percentage of energy every year through efficiency measures.”
Source: Cheat Sheet
Since the ACEE began publishing its report about 7 years ago, California has hovered in the top two spots. In addition to energy efficiency, California dominates in the solar energy business. According to ACEE note, the city raked points from different categories including strict renewable energy standards, reduction in vehicle-associated emissions and commitment to state public transportation.
3. New York
Improved policies have improved New York’s ranking on the list. The city has improved its public transportation. The New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has also received accolades from ACEE.
Oregon scored high in building energy code which is stricter than the highest international standards. The state also raked point for a wide range of government initiatives enacted to boost energy efficiency.
The number of statewide incentive programs greatly influenced Connecticut’s score on the ACEE ranking. There is also the Clean Energy Communities program which tackles residential efficiency issues.