As more cities and states set ambitious clean energy goals, certain states have forged ahead and are leading the pack with successful energy efficiency (EE) programs. Brattle Principal Sanem Sergici’s recent Public Utilities Fortnightly article titled “Top Performing States in Energy Efficiency: Top States’ Secret Sauce” discusses a report she coauthored, which analyzed why some of these states have been so successful and how other states can follow suit.

Over 100 cities and five states have committed to 100% clean energy goals as of May 2019, and several utilities have committed to achieving significant greenhouse gas emissions reduction over the coming decades. As a result, the EE program administration requires a re-evaluation to improve coordination across the energy ecosystem. There are also a variety of models available for state agencies, non-profit corporations, and independent third-party agencies to administer EE programs, each with their unique strengths and weaknesses.

In a November 2019 report prepared for Uplight, “Energy Efficiency Administrator Models: Relative Strengths and Impact on Energy Efficiency Program Success,” Dr. Sergici and other Brattle economists evaluated four different EE administrator models. They concluded that the choice of EE administrator model does not itself determine stronger EE performance, measured by annual EE savings as a percent of the total load served.

Instead, stronger EE performance is driven by other variables, such as having a state energy efficiency resource standard (EERS), dedicated funds for EE programs, and regulatory incentive mechanisms such as full decoupling and performance incentive metrics. These drivers collectively highlight the importance of:

  1. A state’s policy commitment to a long-term EE agenda.
  2. Enabling utilities with incentives to be partners in achieving that agenda.

The full article, “Top Performing States in Energy Efficiency: Top States’ Secret Sauce,” can be found on the Public Utilities Fortnightly website.

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