The Best (And Worst) States For Clean Energy

No matter where you live in the United States, everyone should have the freedom of choice when it comes to making clean and efficient energy decisions. Unfortunately, some states are eager to partner with you and incentivize you throughout this journey, while others make things a bit more difficult.

On October 16th, the American Council For An Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released their annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, ranking the best and worst states for energy efficiency. Based on a 50-point scale, these scores rated government initiatives on 31 different metrics that hit on seven different policy divisions, including utilities, government-led initiatives, and efficiency building codes.

While no state scored a perfect 50, and even the lowest performer got a few points, legislation and state initiatives varied greatly across the board.

Check out the best of the best, and the worst of the worst, brought to you through our partnership with NRG.

As the role of the government should be to help us access clean energy, instead of keep us from it, now is the time to get involved and urge your state to do more for energy efficiency reform. Where does your home state fall on the clean energy spectrum? Click here to access the full list.



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rhode island

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  • In 2013, more than 13 percent of Vermont’s energy needs were fulfilled through energy efficient means
  • The state gives homeowners significant rebates on energy efficient appliances through Energy Star
  • Both public and not-for-profit organizations offer tax credits and incentives for renewable and efficient energy systems
  • Green Mountain Power offers customers the ability to opt into its Cow Power program, in which cow manure from local farms is fed into an anaerobic digester that helps power the grid
  • Vermont is also home to the Clean Energy Collective, which is the leader developer of community-owned solar power in the nation.
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new york

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south carolina

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  • South Carolina has no energy efficiency resource standard
  • There are no major energy efficiency research studies commissioned for the state
  • South Carolina ranks 26th in terms of highest carbon emissions per state, despite the population size


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  • Missouri allows large customers to opt out of efficiency programs
  • The state has yet to set any efficiency standards for appliances
  • There are also no research or development programs focused on energy efficiency in Missouri


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  • The Louisiana government has allowed a number of energy efficiency incentive programs to lapse
  • They are second only to Texas in terms of state oil refinery capacity
  • In 2013, Louisiana ranked second in total energy consumption per capita

west virginia

The Facts:
  • Large customers can opt out of energy efficiency programs
  • There are no state-backed financial incentives for energy efficiency
  • As the second largest coal producer in the U.S., West Virginia generates more energy than it consumes


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  • Mississippi has dedicated a meager budget towards utility energy efficiency programs
  • Residential building codes in the state are significantly out of date
  • In 2013, almost none of the state’s energy consumption came from solar, wind, or hydro power


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  • Alaska offers no financial incentives to utility companies for energy efficiency programs
  • They also have the second highest electricity costs in the nation
  • In addition, Alaska is one of the few states that still generates geothermal energy

south dakota

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  • There are very few state-led energy efficiency initiative programs offered in South Dakota
  • Savings and incentives for utilities to implement energy efficiencies are significantly below the national average
  • South Dakota produces higher rates of nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions than the national averages, despite having one of the smaller populations


The Facts:
  • Wyoming offers no performance incentives for utilities to implement energy efficiencies
  • There are no major research projects conducted in the state for energy efficiency
  • Wyoming has the highest energy consumption per capita in the U.S.

north dakota

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  • Utilities in North Dakota rely on a system that discourages energy efficiency
  • Policymakers have not indicated that they want to pursue any energy efficient legislation
  • Crude oil production in the state increased by 177 percent between 2010-2013

*Highest-ranked state for clean energy
**Lowest ranked lowest for energy efficiency

Clarification: While available in Rhode Island, federal tax credits are available for all homeowners wishing to invest in personal renewable energy technologies.

NRG Energy is committed to finding the most economically and ethically responsible options for sustainable energy. To learn more, visit Generation Change.