How to zero out emissions? More US states use energy efficiency



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How to zero out emissions? More US states use energy efficiency

By Annie Gilleo, Senior Manager, State Policy

A growing number of states is adopting ambitious clean energy goals, aiming to zero out emissions in the power sector and, in some cases, the statewide economy.

In the past year, legislatures in California, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Puerto Rico, and Washington have all passed bills aimed at making their state’s electricity sector carbon free by 2045-2050. More states have pledged to meet similar goals through executive orders and regulatory frameworks, most recently New Jersey, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. To date, 25 governors have signed on to the US Climate Alliance, pledging to reduce emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Using Efficiency to Meet Clean Energy Targets

While these goals mean transitioning to clean and renewable energy generation, each of these states will also need a big ramp up in energy efficiency to reach its targets. Energy efficiency reduces loads, cutting the amount (and therefore cost) of renewable energy needed to meet the goals. Efficiency also reduces energy needs on very hot and cold days, helping to aid grid reliability at times when the grid is most stressed. It is clear that states and regions will need to lean heavily on energy efficiency on the road to zero emissions. Many already are.

New Mexico was the third state to pass legislation requiring 100% of the state’s electricity generation to come from renewables, following California and Hawaii. During its 2019 legislative session, New Mexico also passed legislation that will extend its energy efficiency targets and help incentivize utilities to save energy…

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About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit