Michigan retains No. 12 Ranking — on State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, That is...

 “There can only be economy where there is efficiency.”

-- Benjamin Disraeli

The votes are in and Michigan has retained its No. 12 ranking in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard for 2014.

While not as impressive as Michigan State University’s current college football ranking after winning its rivalry game against the University of Michigan, it remains impressive, nonetheless. However, it is clear that Michigan can improve.

2014 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The ACEEE describes its methodology in the following manner:

“The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard benchmarks states across six policy areas – utility policies and programs, transportation initiatives, building energy codes, combined heat and power development, state government-led initiatives, and state-level appliance standards. In total, states are scored on more than 30 individual metrics. Data is collected from publicly available sources and vetted by state energy offices and public utility commissions.”

Michigan’s scorecard showed that it increased its overall score from 2013, but maintained is 12th place position:

  • Utility Benchmark: Michigan scored 12.5 points out of a possible 20 points, with an overall increase in electricity savings of 1.5 percent over 2013. In its favor, the state has an active long-term energy efficiency resource standard, which requires utilities to meet energy-savings targets with consumer energy efficiency programs. However, the state’s cost cap on this program downgraded its assessment.
  • Transportation: Michigan scored 4 out a possible 9 points in this category. In its favor is legislation that directs vehicle registration fees to public transportation and transit management programs. Also, consideration of transportation is an important element in planning requirements.
  • Building Energy Codes: Michigan received 3.5 out of a possible 7 points for the stringency and enforcement of building energy code for residences and commercial buildings.
  • Combined Heat and Power: This was the state’s second worst performing metric, scoring only 1.5 out of a possible 5 points. While CHP is eligible under Michigan’s renewable portfolio standard, there are no loan programs or incentives in place for its adoption.
  • State-led Initiatives: Here, Michigan did fairly well, scoring 4.5 out of 7 points. Michigan has loan and rebate programs in place, as well as benchmarks for public buildings and two energy efficiency research centers.
  • Appliance Standards: Here we come up with a zero, as Michigan has no state-set standards in place, relying instead on federal requirements.

Nationwide, energy efficiency program budgets for electricity and natural gas increased to $7.7 billion in 2013. Actual savings for electricity programs in 2013 equaled 24.3 million megawatt-hours (a seven percent increase over 2012) and for natural gas of 276 million therms (a 19 percent increase from 2012).

Of note, our neighbors to the south, Indiana and Ohio, saw their rankings fall substantially. Those states’ decisions to abandon and scale back previous energy efficiency efforts caused them to fall the most of all the other states. Our neighbors to the west, Kentucky and Wisconsin, saw an uptick in their rankings due to their policies.

The ACEEE report is a helpful tool to gauge how well we are doing with preserving the resources we have and whether we can do more with less. It is interesting to note that the two top states, Massachusetts and California, are economic powerhouses. Perhaps some of their economic successes are attributable to their efforts to keep money that would have been spent on energy in the pockets of their citizens and businesses.

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