While Feds Falter, States Forge Ahead: Energy Efficiency Innovation At the State Level

December 11, 2003

Media Contact(s):

Wendy Koch, 202-507-4753, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications

WASHINGTON, D.C. — States can take important leadership roles on the nation's energy problems, according to a new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). As Congress struggles to pass an energy bill that fails to meet one-quarter of its efficiency potential, many states continue to push forward with innovative and effective energy efficiency efforts. Covering everything from appliance standards to transportation and power generation, ACEEE's report, Energy Efficiency's Next Generation: Innovation at the State Level, provides concrete examples of effective legislation, regulation, and program design. It presents abundant resource and contact information for states that want to emulate these leading examples.

"States don't have to wait for Congress to break its gridlock on energy policy," stated ACEEE Deputy Director and lead author Bill Prindle. "Our analysis shows that energy efficiency continues to work effectively at the state level as a guiding principle for energy policy." States have shown leadership in creating successful energy efficiency policies and programs, from the first wave of building energy codes and appliance efficiency standards in the 1970s to utility efficiency programs in the 1980s, to climate change-driven initiatives in the 1990s. These initiatives often led to changes in federal energy policy. Given the inaction at the federal level, ACEEE encourages states to take even more leadership in energy efficiency policy.

Many states face pressing energy problems today. This winter, rising natural gas prices are hurting consumers by sending home heating bills through the roof, and are cutting jobs by shutting down gas-reliant manufacturing. Many states recall the disruptions of power blackouts this past summer. Responding to the climate change challenge is becoming a priority for many states as well. Energy efficiency policies and programs provide fast and cost-effective solutions to these problems.

ACEEE's analysis of state efficiency programs shows that a complete portfolio of efficiency policies that taps efficiency potential in all sectors can over time save up to 20% of an average state's energy use. The federal energy bill, by contrast, would save only about 3% of national energy use in 2020. States interested in tapping the full potential of energy efficiency for a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and more affordable consumer energy bills should look to their peers for models to follow.

Energy Efficiency's Next Generation can guide state legislatures, state energy agencies, state regulatory commissions, and other stakeholders in adopting the energy efficiency policy and program initiatives it highlights. The report helps lay the groundwork for state energy policy action, and in this respect can help fill the void left by federal energy policy.

The report can be downloaded for free at http://aceee.org/pubs/e031.htm  

For further information, contact ACEEE Publications, 529 14th St, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045, phone: 202-507-4000, fax: 202-429-2248, e-mail: aceee_publications@aceee.org.