Connecticut continues to be among the most energy efficient states in the nation, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
The council ranked Connecticut sixth among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in energy efficiency and savings in its 2017 Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
ACEE's 11th annual scorecard is based on 2016 data.
Council research analyst Weston Berg says the rankings "not only call attention to high achieving states but also highlight states' successful energy efficiency policies and best practices."
The scorecard ranks states in six areas of energy efficiency, assigning a score to each category with a possible cumulative high score of 50.
The categories are:
- Utilities and public benefits programs and policies
- Transportation policies
- Building energy codes and compliance
- Combined heat and power policies
- State government-led initiatives around energy efficiency
- Appliance and equipment standards
Connecticut a Leader
Connecticut scored 35.5—unchanged from last year—but fell one spot in the rankings because Massachusetts and California, which tied for first place in the 2016 scorecard, had different rankings this year.
While Massachusetts scored a top rank for the second straight year, Connecticut, along with fellow New England states of Rhode Island and Vermont, continues to be a leader in energy efficiency.
"Roughly half the states have implemented some type of energy efficiency resource standard with mandatory savings targets," Berg said.
The scorecard noted that Connecticut, New York, Washington, Minnesota, and Maryland were again among the top 10 states.
Roughly half the states have implemented some type of energy efficiency resource standard with mandatory savings targets.
The scorecard cited Connecticut among a handful of states, including Massachusetts and California, leading the way in state-government initiatives.
"All of these states offer financial incentives to consumers, and local governments, and they also invest in research and development programs focused on energy efficiency," the report said.
Evolving Funding Models
The increased attention on energy efficiency nationwide has resulted in a growth of businesses providing energy efficiency in Connecticut.
"Of course, most if not all these efficiency programs and incentives are funded by electric ratepayers," CBIA senior counsel Eric Brown said.
"Connecticut recognizes that ratepayers cannot continue to subsidize energy efficiency jobs forever.
"As technologies like solar become more affordable, and the value of energy efficiency becomes more widely understood, the private sector will have to be weaned off ratepayer-funded subsidies—especially for those who can afford it."
The report said that states are "facing an evolving set of challenges and opportunities as their energy sectors are being transformed."
Energy options are becoming more diverse, while innovation is sparking new public interest in energy choices.
Potential for Growth
The scorecard notes several strategies states could adopt to improve efficiency, including exploring and promoting innovative financing mechanisms to leverage private capital and lower up-front implementation costs.
The scorecard cited Connecticut as a leader in those areas and singled out the Connecticut Green Bank, a quasi-public organization the legislature created in 2011 as the nation's first green bank.
The Green Bank administers many innovative financing programs to assist municipalities, businesses, multifamily building owners, and residences—including low-income households—invest in efficiency and clean energy programs.
Currently, the Green Bank leverages about $9 of private capital for every dollar of ratepayer funding.
"This is the future of energy efficiency and clean energy financing," Brown said.
"Even now, private-sector financial institutions are learning from our Green Bank and creating their own innovative financing tools.
"Ultimately, this will make our efforts to stimulate energy efficiency, deploy clean energy, and grow jobs more effective and economically sustainable."