The World Cup of Energy Efficiency
This year, Germany won the World Cup of soccer in Brazil. What a tournament. I was stunned by how many people were excited about it. Germany also won the World Cup of Energy Efficiency, a ranking developed by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). It evaluated 16 leading world economies on 31 categories. These 16 economies represent 81% of global gross domestic product and 71% of global energy consumption.
The ACEEE ranking system looks at both "policy metrics" and "performance metrics" to measure a country's overall energy efficiency. Examples of "policy metrics" include the presence of a national energy savings target, fuel economy standards for vehicles, and energy efficiency standards for appliances. The "performance metrics" measure energy use and provide quantifiable results. Examples of "performance metrics" include average miles per gallon of on-road passenger vehicles and energy consumed per square foot of floor space in residential buildings. New metrics for this year's edition include water efficiency policy, agricultural efficiency, building retrofit policies, heavy-duty fuel efficiency standards, and investment in energy efficiency by the private sector.
3. European Union
4/5. Tie: China and France
6/7. Tie: Japan and United Kingdom
12. South Korea
13. United States
ACEEE divided the 31 metrics across four groupings: those that track cross-cutting aspects of energy use at the national level, as well as the three sectors primarily responsible for energy consumption in an economically developed country -- buildings, industry, and transportation. The top-scoring countries in each grouping are: E.U., France, and Italy (three-way tie for national efforts); China (buildings); Germany (industry); and Italy (transportation).
ACEEE noted that the United States, long considered an innovative and competitive world leader, has progressed slowly and has made limited progress since its last report, even as Germany, Italy, China, and other nations surge ahead. The EPA's new carbon pollution standards for existing power plants proposed this June would be a major stride in raising the US score. ACEEE documents dozens of other international best practices that the U.S. could implement to improve its score.
U.S. Congressman Peter Welch (Vermont) said: "There's really no excuse for the U.S. lagging behind other nations on energy efficiency. States like Vermont have demonstrated that energy efficiency saves money, reduces environmental impact, and creates jobs. And, in an environment of gridlock, there is bipartisan common ground on this issue in Congress." In fact, Vermont recently increased its net energy metering cap, nearly quadrupling the percent of power that the state's utilities can accept from distributed resources. Vermont's bipartisan cap is now a whopping 15%!