Iowa Ranking Drops More than any State in US for Energy Efficiency

posted on Friday, October 5, 2018 in Energy News

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard on Thursday, and Iowa fell the most out of any state in the country, moving down five spots to 24th in the nation. The 12th annual report shows which states are doing the best on energy efficiency, which is a critical tool for keeping energy bills affordable and moving toward a 100 percent clean energy system.

According to the report, Iowa’s drop in rankings was due mostly to a bill signed earlier this year (Senate File 2311) that imposes restrictive caps on efficiency programs. To download the full Scorecard, visit: http://aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard.

“Iowa has long been a leader in energy innovation and clean energy and it is disappointing to see that leadership wiped out,” said Kerri Johannsen, Energy Program Director at the Iowa Environmental Council. “Senate File 2311 rolled back the successful policies that supported 20,000 jobs in Iowa and propelled the state to its energy leadership position, and the effects of the law are becoming apparent.”

The Scorecard assesses state policies and programs that improve energy efficiency in homes, businesses, industries, and transportation systems. It examines the six policy areas in which states typically pursue energy efficiency: utility and public benefits programs and policies; transportation policies; building energy codes and compliance; Combined Heat and Power policies; state government-led energy efficiency initiatives; and appliance and equipment standards.

Utilities in Iowa refiled their five-year energy efficiency plans in July, after the passage of Senate File 2311. The updated plans significantly cut energy efficiency programs, eliminating some programs entirely and rendering many others ineffective. These cuts will likely to lead to job losses at small businesses across Iowa. It is expected that Iowa’s future ACEEE rankings will drop much more when the full impacts of the recent legislative changes are reflected in plans being implemented.

“While utilities publicly tout their renewable energy investments and their attempt to save Iowans money, they asked legislators behind closed doors to eliminate energy efficiency options in order to make businesses and residents dependent on the energy utilities generate,” said Josh Mandelbaum, an attorney with the Environmental Law and Policy Center. “Iowa consumers will lose in the long run as more energy will need to be generated and sold by monopoly utilities.”

An update to the Scorecard report methodology in 2017 gave new consideration to state policies designed to improve energy efficiency programs that serve low-income customers, who spend three times as much on their household energy bills as a percentage of their income as other households.