The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently released its third annual state-by-state ranking on the adoption and implementation of energy efficiency policies. Clearly, several states continue to log impressive scores while others have made significant strides, as was reported by the New York Times’ blog on energy and environment issues, Green Inc..
However, and perhaps more importantly, the report also suggests the enormous growth potential that still exists despite such accomplishments.
The ACEEE suggests in a press release that the current economic downturn has not sidetracked state-level efforts to make the most of energy efficiency as the cheapest, cleanest and quickest of all energy resources. Analysis of The 2009 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which ranks states in six categories, indicates this is most certainly true. The report concludes states known for past energy efficiency prowess are retaining their hold, while more have joined the upper ranks of energy efficiency with comprehensive strategies to improve efficiency, including utility rebate programs.
ACEEE Scorecards show state energy efficiency expenditures are climbing, with $1.6 billion spent in 2006 followed by $2.2 billion in 2007 (the most recent years for which statistics are available). Federal expenditures were and will be $2.2 billion, according to Department of Energy budgets for 2009 and 2010; stimulus funding adds another $ 16.8 billion.
However, statistics within the report also indicate, despite the increased spending, that renewable energy usage in the commercial and government sectors leaves substantial room for growth. The commercial sector, which includes government, accounts for less than 2 percent of renewables consumption. Renewables account for 7 percent of power generated, which means total commercial consumption of renewable power is 0.14 percent of electricity consumed.
Quite simply, these statistics point to opportunity. A recent Greenwire article suggests some business executives are ready to seize it. According to the article, most executives participating in a survey by the auditor and consultant Ernst & Young said their firms will have spent at least $10 million in clean-tech investments by next year; more than 75 percent predicted that their spending levels will grow in 2010 and over the next five years. The central findings show “multibillion-dollar companies have few qualms about buying clean-tech products from or otherwise partnering with nascent companies,” Ernst & Young officials conclude.