Little Rock – The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recently released its 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. While Arkansas slid three spots from the previous year to land at number 34, the state maintained the same level points as in 2017 and remains a leader in the Southeast, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association noted.
In this year’s report, ACEEE recognized Arkansas for a recent decision to increase energy savings targets: “Arkansas continued to build on the success of its efficiency efforts in July when the state’s public service commission approved new energy savings targets of 1.2% of utility sales for program years 2020–2022.”
In the Scorecard’s utilities chapter (which accounts for 40% of all points), Arkansas leads the Southeast (with 7 out of 20 points) on account of being one of only two states in the region with an EERS (Energy Efficiency Resource Standard), and reporting electric savings levels that are starting to rise above the national median, and that are poised to continue to rise with the recently approved increase in utility savings targets.
Under the EERS adopted by the Arkansas Public Service Commission in 2010, utility energy efficiency programs have proven to be an important economic driver for Arkansas and advanced energy technologies. The utility energy efficiency programs have helped add 2,000 jobs and counting to the state’s economy. That’s the finding of a 2014 economic study by the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation, which identified 675 contractors hired by the utilities to deliver their programs. The EE sector represents more than 9,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in annual sales.
Arkansas has the most opportunity to improve upon policies related to transportation (1 out of 10), building codes (3 out of 8), and Combined Heat and Power (0 out of 4). Several states in the region offer tax credits or rebates on electric vehicles. Many states have updated their building energy codes to the 2012 or 2015 IECC, which would significantly improve Arkansas’s buildings score.
The 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, now in its 12th edition, ranks states on their policy and program efforts, not only assessing performance but also documenting best practices and recognizing leadership. The report captures the latest policy developments and state efforts to save energy and highlights opportunities and policy tools available to governors, state legislators, and regulators.
Energy efficiency remains the nation’s third-largest electricity resource, employing 2.25 million Americans and typically providing the lowest-cost way to meet customers’ energy needs. Other benefits include improving air and water quality, strengthening grid resilience, promoting equity, and improving health and comfort. By calling attention to recent policy and programmatic successes, the Scorecard seeks to help states, utilities, and businesses realize all these benefits.