For companies looking to sell energy efficiency tools, green building products and alt-fuel vehicles, a new scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy could offer a roadmap to markets with some of the friendliest policies in the U.S. This year’s scorecard, which will be released in full Wednesday morning, ranks states according to their “adoption and implementation of energy efficiency policies and programs” — things like building energy codes, tax incentives for hybrid-electric vehicles and strict appliance energy efficiency standards. This year the top 10 states include, in alphabetical order: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
Business leaders surveyed earlier this year expressed a belief that a turnaround for energy efficiency startups could hinge on more incentives and legislation from the government. So in a time when interest in energy efficiency among North American businesses is growing, but oftentimes is not leading to actual investments in the technology, the types of policies factored into ACEEE’s report this week are of critical importance to many startups.
A broad cross section of the cleantech companies stand to benefit from these policies. Raising the bar on building energy codes, for example, can help drum up business for more efficient lighting and products from companies like Serious Materials, a green building materials company that last month announced one of the largest VC deals in the country for 2009.
When it comes to helping utilities meet energy savings targets and take advantage of “the removal of disincentives,” as ACEEE put it in last year’s report (allowing utilities to make more money selling less energy), information technology-based tools from companies like Powerit Solutions, eMeter and Efficiency 2.0 also have a big role to play.
The 10 states in the group that “most needs to improve,” according to ACEEE’s analysis, are Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. Lacking the level of government support for energy efficiency improvements that the top 10 states have, of course, this second group of states may have the most need, if not the easiest market entry, for efficiency tech and tools. We’ll know more on Wednesday about how all 50 states measure up.
Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.