California has long been a national leader in areas of renewable energy, digital innovation and fighting climate change. Occasionally, it surrenders the top spot to another state, as it has to Texas in the field of wind power. Sometimes, it gains it back.


This fall, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) published its annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. After five years out of the top spot, California has climbed back into the lead. However, this year is a little different. California now shares the No. 1 spot with Massachusetts.


For the scorecard, ACEEE allocates a total of 50 possible points to states based on six different policy areas in which they pursue energy efficiency. The policy areas are weighted in descending order of importance as measured by the maximum number of points that can be earned from each. At the top of the list, states can earn up to 20 points for their utility and public benefits programs and policies. They can earn up to 10 points for transportation policies and programs, up to seven points for building energy codes, another seven points for state government-led initiatives, four points for combined heat and power policies (CHP), and two points for appliance and equipment standards.


California and Massachusetts each earned 45 points and were leaders or co-leaders in every one of the six categories.


More important than the competition between the states, the ranking highlights the role all states play in the pursuit of greater energy efficiency.


“Many if not most innovative policies and programs that promote energy efficiency originate at the state level,” said Weston Berg, ACEEE research analyst and lead state scorecard author.


State officials echoed that sentiment. Andrew McAllister, a member of the California Energy Commission, proclaimed that, as a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from building energy consumption, “California’s highest priority is energy efficiency.”


“[Energy-efficiency policies] are consistently proven to be the most cost-effective way to reduce ratepayer costs and lower emissions,” said Judith Judson, commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.