Texas has stepped up its energy-efficiency efforts but still ranks only No. 33 among the states for energy savings , according to a report this week.
The Lone Star State got high marks for becoming, in 1999, the first state to require electric utilities to meet energy efficiency goals, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy said in its 7th annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
Since then, however, Texas has made only modest increases to its statewide investment in energy efficiency programs. In 2011, the state budgeted $144 million for electric energy efficiency programs, less than 0.5 percent of utility industry revenue in the state.
Massachusetts, which ranked No. 1 in the report, budgeted $453 million, nearly 6 percent of Bay State utility revenues.
The Scorecard evaluates states’ energy efficiency policies in six areas: utility programs and policies; transportation policies; energy codes and compliance; combined heat and power policies; appliance and equipment standards; and state government-led initiatives.
Following Massachusetts in the scorecard’s Top 10 are California, New York, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Maryland and Illinois.
The rankings come as government and private sector entities increasingly recognize energy efficiency as part of the strategy for providing sufficient energy resources in the United States and globally.
“Energy efficiency is a critical tool for cutting harmful carbon emissions and the best way to reduce energy bills for America’s families,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a written response to the scorecard’s findings. “We applaud the continued progress in energy efficiency nationwide and stand ready to help states as they make their communities cleaner and more sustainable, while saving taxpayer dollars and fostering greater economic growth.”
The five states identified as most in need of improvement, starting with the lowest-ranking, are North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska and Mississippi. But the report also listed Mississippi among “most improved” states, noting that lawmakers there passed energy legislation that included efficiency as a major component.