Report: Michigan ranks 13th in energy efficiency among states

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Michigan dropped from No. 11 to 13 in a ranking of state-by-state energy efficiency efforts, according to a 2019 study by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The Mitten State scored 28.5 out of 50 possible points in the Washington, D.C.-based ACEEE’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard — the same score it received last year. The scorecard is composed of different crucial areas: utilities, transportation, building policies, combined heat and power, state government-led initiatives and appliance standards. 

State Energy Efficiency Scorecard | American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

Of the 51 areas surveyed — 50 states, plus the District of Columbia — Massachusetts was ranked the highest, with 44.5 of 50 possible points. Wyoming ranked last, with a score of just 4.5 of 50 points. 

Michigan also ranked higher than neighbors Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin, which came in at No. 33, 40 and 25, respectively. 

Michigan made several strides in passing energy-efficient policies and extending electric and natural gas savings targets through 2021, according to the scorecard. It also made note of areas to be improved, such as pursuing more sustainable transportation policies. 

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Michigan scored 14 of 20 possible points in the utilities category, thanks to the combination of electricity and natural gas efficiency programs. Under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s tenure, each utility filed integrated resource plans to reduce carbon emissions by “80-90% by 2040,” according to the scorecard.

The transportation category was less favorable — just 3.5 of 10 points, with the scorecard noting the state could do better by funding more efficient public transit options. An uptick was observed in the number of electric vehicles registered in Michigan, but the study also said Michigan could provide incentives to adopt more electric vehicles.

That’s slightly better than neighbors Ohio and Wisconsin, who each scored just a single point in the transportation category; and Indiana, who scored 2.5 out of 10.

In the building energy efficiency policies section, Michigan scored 6 of 8 points. That’s due in part to the adoption of updated residential and commercial building energy codes in 2015 and 2017. The study also lauded the Michigan Energy Code Compliance Collaborative and its work to “improve compliance with energy codes, holding workshops and trainings to educate local code inspectors/ enforcement officials on the technical aspects of the codes.”

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Michigan scored just 1 of 3 possible points in the combined heat and power category. The state has set an interconnection standard that includes CHP as a resource in renewable energy standards, but standby rates are being assessed by the Michigan Public Service Commission. That’s on par with Ohio’s score, but slightly better than Wisconsin (0.5 of 3) and Indiana (0 of 3). 

In government-led initiatives, Michigan fared well. State programs including property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing were noted in the scorecard. The study also found the state government “leads by example” in marking energy requirements for public buildings, regulating energy usage and encouraging energy-saving performance contracts. 

In appliance standards, Michigan received 0 of 3 points because it hasn’t set clear standards that go beyond those laid out by the federal government. Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana also haven’t set appliance standards.

The full state-by-state scorecard rankings can be found here.

Claire Moore
Claire Moore covers the environment and the Capitol. She previously worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a public affairs staff science writer. She also previously covered crop sustainability and coal pollution issues for Great Lakes Echo. In addition, she served as editor in chief at The State News and covered its academics and research beat. She studies environment journalism and film at Michigan State University.

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