Cali to TV-Makers: Cut Energy Consumption in Half By 2013

It’s official: New TVs sold in California will be more energy efficient in coming years. The hotly debated state energy efficiency standards for televisions — the first of their kind in the nation — have just been approved by the California Energy Commission (hat tip our friends at sister site NewTeeVee). The standards say that new TVs sold in 2011 (58 inches and smaller) need to reduce energy consumption by an average of 33 percent by 2011 and 49 percent by 2013.

Many TV makers have opposed the rules, while the state’s utilities support it. Groups like the Consumer Electronics Association say that the efficiency standards will result in higher prices of TVs in California, closings of stores that sell TVs in California (because those customers will go online or out of state to buy TVs), and unhappy customers who won’t be able to find certain popular TV models in California because they won’t be economic to produce there. The CEA says that the industry has been getting more energy efficient on its own and doesn’t need regulation, which will lead to “decreased industry competition and less innovation.”

But as Amy Westervelt pointed out over on Solve Climate earlier this week, the ruling could lead to a boost in sales in the state for manufacturers that specialize in energy-efficient screens, using LCDs backlit with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and next generation organic light-emitting diode (OLED). Consumer electronics giants from Sony to LG to Samsung are working on OLED TVs and the technology is supposed to be more widely deployed by 2012 — just in time to meet Cali’s new green TV rule.