Thirty states and the District of Columbia have energy efficiency policies that include mandates, voluntary goals or pilot programs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. They are designed to reduce the rise in electricity use by using electricity more efficiently. Seven of the states have established or updated existing energy policies in the past year.
In 1999, Texas was the first state to approve an energy efficiency resource standard, and since then, 24 states have developed an EERS. Four have voluntary goals, and two include energy efficiency pilot programs. An EERS uses financial incentives or penalties to encourage efficient energy use and to decrease electricity sales. Goals set in an EERS typically increase over time.
“Some newer policies include traditional customer-incentive programs such as lighting or cooling equipment rebates as well as utility-sponsored measures that make the electricity distribution system more efficient,” according to the EIA.
Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Ohio, which created an EERS in 2007 or 2008, have extended expiring goals past 2020. “Each state’s targeted electricity savings is different, ranging from 1% of prior year sales (in Michigan) to 2.1% of average sales over the prior three years (in Illinois).” In 2015, the Arkansas Public Service Commission extended its energy efficiency goals through 2019, according to the Database of State Incentives and Renewables & Efficiency.
“In 2014, Florida, Indiana and Ohio eliminated or suspended existing EERS policies,” according to the EIA. Ohio reinstated its EERS in December. States with energy efficiency mandates accounted for 55% of total U.S. retail electricity sales in 2016.