NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Last week the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy put out its annual rankings of the most energy-efficient states. The rankings take into account the state-level programs and policies each state uses to encourage energy efficiency, including building energy codes and transportation policies. The winner this year was Massachusetts, which derailed efficiency powerhouse California with a combination of regulations and incentives to businesses.But not every state has been successful in encouraging energy efficiency with its programs and policies. Here are the 10 states the ACEEE has declared most in need of improvement.
|Many states have made huge strides in energy efficiencies such as solar panels, while others have made little or no effort on state-level programs and policies.|
We'll say this of South Dakota: The state spent decently on natural gas last year, budgeting a little more than $8 per residential customer for natural gas. And the ACEEE observes that a collaborative organization, the South Dakota Energy Smart Initiative, is bringing together utility companies to implement energy efficiency programs. Still, the state has some catching up to do. As the organization notes, "Historically, South Dakota's utilities have not funded or offered much in the way of customer energy efficiency programs." Ninth Least-Efficient State: Alabama
Let's hear it for Alabama: Despite being in the bottom 10 yet again, it was actually one of the six most-improved states, with increased investment in programs from 2009 to last year. Alabama utilities spent nearly $18 million on energy efficiency programs, up from just under $10 million last year. And the state government offers incentives to businesses that retrofit facilities with more efficient equipment. Eighth Least-Efficient State: Missouri
Missouri is another state that's shedding its recent history and taking steps to escape the bottom 10. "Dramatic changes are under way that should greatly increase the funding and availability of energy efficiency programs in Missouri," the ACEEE says. "There is a renewed emphasis on energy efficiency, driven by rising energy costs and related concerns." Those changes have come in the form of legislation: The government passed the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act in 2009, which requires investor-owned utilities to take every opportunity to increase efficiency. Seventh Least-Efficient State: West Virginia
West Virginia laid some serious goose eggs last year when it came to efficiency. The state budgeted exactly zero dollars to natural gas programs - and sadly, was one of 11 states to do so. And it was also one of just two states to dedicate no money to electricity efficiency programs. The organization does say that the state has some pending customer energy efficiency programs.