Credit: ACEEE

Minnesota is the only Midwest state ranked in the top 10 of the annual American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.

The state’s ninth place standing, announced this week, topped Michigan and Illinois (tied for 11th); Iowa (19th); Wisconsin (24th); Ohio (31st) and Indiana (40th). South Dakota and North Dakota rounded out the bottom.

Last year Minnesota ranked 10th on the scorecard and was, once again, the only Midwest state to make the Top 10.

The state’s largest city, Minneapolis, came in 11th among major American cities, joining Chicago (7th) as the only Midwest representatives in the top 15.

The state rankings consider six general policy areas — state programs, building codes and compliance, combined heat and power (CHP) initiatives, utility energy efficiency programs, transportation and appliance standards.

In Minnesota the ACEEE found the following in its data crunch:

  • For state government Minnesota scored high for having six programs with financial incentives, requirements for gasoline and diesel fuel reductions in the state fleet and energy savings performance contracting. Research was another strength.
  • Minnesota has strong energy efficient commercial and residential building codes, as well as a program for compliance studies and plans.
  • The state has developed a CHP “action plan” and has several policies in place to promote it.
  • Utilities must abide by several state policies, including those to reduce their retail sales by 1.5 percent annually. This, and other policies, has resulted in several energy efficiency initiatives, including one for low income residents, a focus the ACEEE has added this year.
  • Minnesota gets dinged a bit for weak transportation policies, including no incentives for high efficiency vehicles, tailpipe emission standards, transportation and land use policies and greenhouse gas reduction strategies for freight trains. Less than robust funding for transit also hurt the state’s score.
  • Minnesota won no points in the least significant measurement, appliance standards, because it has none beyond what the federal government requires.

Minneapolis received high marks for government policies, energy and water efficiency efforts. On the other hand, building policies scored poorly due to few initiatives for green buildings, retrofits and audits.

The transportation score was low, too, despite a growing transit network. The city ranks in the third highest transit funding category and has no incentives for electric vehicles.

The scorecard is in its 11th year.

Frank is an independent journalist and consultant based in St. Paul and a longtime contributor to Midwest Energy News. His articles have appeared in more than 50 publications, including Minnesota Monthly, Wired, the Los Angeles Times, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota Technology, Finance & Commerce and others. Frank has also been a Humphrey policy fellow at the University of Minnesota, a Fulbright journalism teacher in Pakistan and Albania, and a program director of the World Press Institute at Macalester College. Frank covers the state of Minnesota.

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