In recent years, many states have embraced new energy efficiency policies and as a result, investments in energy efficiency programs have been increasing steadily. But a group of about a dozen states remains year after year at the bottom of the ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. In this report, we describe the results of numerous interviews with policy-makers and policy influencers in the states ranked in the bottom ten of the Scorecard to explore why they have not embraced energy efficiency and to investigate the approaches and policies in the utility sector, the public sector, buildings, and industry that might allow them to get started or accelerate their activities.
After interviewing fifty-five stakeholders, we found a number of barriers both common and unique to the states we examined. Fortunately, energy efficiency does have a foothold in every region of the country, and the policies and programs we recommend are grounded in past experience and success in states similar to those we examined for this report. The recommendations vary in scope and targeted sector, but we focused on low-cost, flexible solutions that made sense given the context of most states we analyzed. We conclude that low-ranking states in the Scorecard should seize the opportunity to tap into an abundant, yet under-utilized resource in energy efficiency, which can contribute to economic development, environmental well-being, and energy security.