States see forward progress in areas of energy and transportation efficiency

Despite there being a wealth of disappointing news lately having to do with environmental matters, one can take heart in knowing that not all news making the rounds related to the environment in this day and age is bad. Some of it is even downright good.

As a case in point, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has announced the release of its 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. This was reported on by the ACEEE in its “50-State Scorecard Reveals States Are Ramping Up Clean Energy” Oct. 1, 2019 press release.

Below is but some of the content of that release.

“The 50-state [2019 State Energy Efficiency] Scorecard reveals increasing state commitment to energy efficiency, the least-expensive clean energy resource, even in places where it had traditionally been overlooked. Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, New York, and Maine passed 100% clean energy goals, along with plans to increase efficiency investment. A record number of states adopted new efficiency standards for a variety of products and equipment, some in direct response to the federal rollback of standards for light bulbs. States have also countered the federal plan to weaken vehicle efficiency by promoting electric vehicles and adopting California’s vehicle emissions standards, which now face a precarious future.”

Goal of Hawaii to be carbon neutral by 2045

“The Scorecard awards a total of 50 points based on state policies and programs in six areas: utilities, buildings, transportation, state government, combined heat and power, and appliance standards. It highlights best practices for promoting energy efficiency, typically the lowest-cost way to meet customers’ energy needs. Such efficiency improves air and water quality, strengthens grid resilience, promotes equity, improves health and comfort, and helps address the climate challenge,” the ACEEE went on in the release to state.

The better performers are such states as California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York with those losing ground including Kentucky and Ohio with Wyoming among those states “lagging behind,” according to the ACEEE. “Coast to coast, states are taking [sic] [a] concerted effort to promote electric vehicles, efficient products, smart buildings, cold climate heat pumps, and zero-energy building codes.”

Using the energy sector, one example where America is and has been increasingly stepping up to the sustainability/renewables plate is in the area of electricity generation.

Bituminous coal

Where coal was once burned in large measure to power the electric grid to meet the growing electricity demands of not only a growing populace but also one increasingly on the move and for the purpose of heating homes and businesses, today it is that way no more. More and more of the electricity supply comes from renewable, sustainable sources such as solar and wind whose supplies do not require extraction from deep within the earth the way coal does.

It isn’t just this: That extracted (mined) coal must then be transported – sometimes over great distances – using train or truck just to get it from mine to power plant which consumes additional energy in the process.

In the cases of solar and wind energy generation, on the other hand, the respective supplies – ambient light and breezes – come to the sites directly right where the photovoltaic arrays and wind turbines themselves are located.

And not to be forgotten are the scores of residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial concerns with their own on-site solar panel and/or wind turbine installations. Once these are factored in, the renewables/sustainable picture is almost complete. Rounding out the category, meanwhile, are geothermal, hydroelectric and nuclear.

To learn more, check out the press release here. Meanwhile, information about the 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard can be accessed here.

Image (upper): Matt Mallams for Earthjustice

This post was last revised on Dec. 26, 2020 @ 7:45 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Published by Alan Kandel