Report: La. Gets Poor Marks for Energy Efficiency, Decarbonization

BATON ROUGE (The Center Square) — Louisiana is among the worst states in the nation for efforts to “advance energy efficiency in service of decarbonization,” according to a recent report.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released its 2022 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard in December to rank states on “policy and program efforts to save energy, advance equity, and pursue efficiency as a cost-effective, critical tool for reducing emissions and meeting state clean energy goals.”

The 15th edition of the report compares states based on six policy areas: utility and public benefits, transportation, building energy efficiency, state government led initiatives, industrial energy efficiency, and appliance and equipment standards.

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“Leading states are shifting their efficiency efforts to focus on decarbonization and reducing energy burdens for the most vulnerable residents, setting an example for other states,” said Sagarika Subramanian, senior research analyst at ACEEE and lead author of the report. “The clean energy transition will only be successful if we ensure it benefits everyone, including low-income and disadvantaged communities, while addressing historic patterns of injustice.

“Because of the severity of the climate crisis, even leading states must take bolder action for the United States to meet its climate targets of at least 50% GHG emissions reductions by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.”

Louisiana tied with Mississippi and South Dakota for 46th place overall for energy efficiency with a score of 3.5 out of 50, dropping one spot since last year. The state received its highest mark for state government initiatives with a score of 2.5 out of 4.5, and received zeros for utility and public benefits, building energy efficiency policies, industrial policies, and appliance efficiency standards.

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ACEEE gave Louisiana a 1 out of 13 for transportation policies.

The report also examined incremental savings from electric efficiency programs in 2021, with Louisiana saving 104,169 megawatt hours, or 0.11% of 2021 retail sales. The median incremental savings in the U.S. for 2021 was 0.62% of retail sales, or 200,324 megawatt hours.

“Nationwide reported savings from utility and public benefits electricity programs in 2021 totaled 0.68% of sales, or 26 million MWh, a 2.43% decrease from 2020,” the report read.

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Louisiana spent $32 million on electric efficiency programs in 2021, which was 0.4% of that year’s statewide electric revenues, a percentage that was worse than all but 11 states.

The ACEEE report shows total 2021 spending on electricity programs across the U.S. decreased by about 2.3% from 2020 to $5.96 billion, though when natural gas program spending of $1.69 billion is included, total efficiency program spending hit $7.66 billion in 2021, an increase of 0.82% over 2020.

Louisiana’s 46th place ranking was among the worst in the southeast region, tied with Mississippi, and well behind Texas in 29th and Arkansas in 37th. The only state in the region with a lower rank was South Carolina in 49th, while states with better ranks included Alabama and Oklahoma tied in 41st, Georgia in 39th, Florida in 29th, Tennessee in 28th, North Carolina in 25th, Kentucky in 38th, West Virginia in 44th, and Virginia in 20th.

The top 10 states on the Energy Efficiency Scorecard include California at the top, followed by Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Maine, District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Maryland, Connecticut and Minnesota.

The least energy efficient states include Wyoming in last place, preceded by Kansas, South Carolina, South Dakota, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, West Virginia, North Dakota, Alabama and Oklahoma.

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