Local policy is becoming an increasingly important driver for energy efficiency with local governments and other local leaders continuing to create innovative solutions even when federal and state leadership is lacking. Additionally, local governments have many responsibilities and relationships that put them in a unique position to effectively translate energy efficiency goals into successful implementation, and ultimately create tangible on-the-ground results.
However, this progress is also under threat as local governments across the U.S.are currently struggling to maintain their newly expanded energy efficiency efforts. As the federal grant funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is spent down, local governments will have to more effectively target their energy efforts toward those that simultaneously meet broader community goals.
Particularly important in this transitional period will be planning efforts and policies that save energy but have positive budgetary implications or that can be implemented with strategic partnerships and leveraged funds. Prioritizing such actions can allow communities to continue to improve their energy efficiency, saving money for other community priorities, without shouldering large upfront investments.
In response, ACEEE has launched a new Web-based resource devoted to local energy efficiency policy. One of the goals of this will be to provide local leaders with a series of resources to aid them in selecting the most appropriate policy options for their community. This new ACEEE local "hub" has several components:
- Local policy sector portal — a brief introduction to the topic; links to relevant publications, documents, related items, and external links; and access to related policy topic pages.
- Local Policy Case Studies — these feature exemplary local energy efficiency policies and programs, many of which have been established at very low- or no-cost and all of which provide significant energy and monetary savings. The case studies cover a diverse set of strategies in improving energy efficiency and are searchable by keyword, sector, policy type, and state. This collection of case studies will be expanded over time to capture new policies in additional locations and across sectors.
- Local Technical Assistance Toolkit — a collection of primers that help local actors to get started in specific policy areas. It is a complement to our existing State Technical Assistance Toolkit and will continue to be expanded over time. Currently the topics covered include Local Government Facilities and Operations, Water and Wastewater, and Combined Heat and Power. These resources also link to related local policy case studies.