Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments

Designing and Implementing State Policies and Programs

Designing state climate and energy policies

Once a state chooses climate and clean energy policies to implement, they can look at what has worked in other states that have similar priorities, characteristics, structures or goals. The Energy and Environment Guide to Action provides an in-depth look at how states have tailored their climate and energy policies.

States can also design their climate and clean energy policies to achieve multiple goals at once. For instance, one clean energy policy could be designed to achieve state energy goals, reduce energy costs for low income residents, build a workforce to support low carbon energy industries, and attract business investment.

Securing financing for state climate and clean energy policies and programs

States and communities are increasingly investing in – and confronting the barriers to – energy efficiency and renewable energy to achieve their environmental, economic, and energy goals. The up-front costs of improving energy efficiency and increasing renewable energy generation can often be a barrier for homeowners, building owners, and businesses. State and local governments can make efficiency and renewable energy more affordable by adopting traditional clean energy financing programs, such as revolving loan funds, performance contracting, tax incentives, rebates and grants. EPA’s Financing Program Decision Tool will help state and local staff identify clean energy financing programs suited to their jurisdiction’s specific needs.

In recent years, market-based carbon emission reduction programs have become a source of funding for some clean energy policies and programs. The nine states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Exit, for example, have invested more than $700 million in proceeds from auctioning emissions allowances into programs that lower costs for energy consumers and reduce carbon dioxide. The RGGI states estimate that those investments are providing benefits of more than $2 billion in lifetime energy savings to energy consumers in the region. Learn more about RGGI’s benefits Exit and program design Exit.

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Examples states can use to develop climate, energy efficiency and renewable energy programs

To help states develop their own programs with limited resources, EPA offers program planning resources, quantification tools, technical assistance, and outreach materials.

For instance, states may be able to reduce program costs and implementation time by using ENERGY STAR to design and implement commercial and residential energy efficiency programs. ENERGY STAR offers resources on portfolio planning, best practices, forecasting and evaluation, and networking and peer exchange.

In addition, states can lead by example by using clean energy technologies and reducing emissions in government operations while testing and demonstrating the benefits of the technologies.

EPA Program Buildings (Residential and Non-Residential) Industry Electric Power and Renewable Energy Transportation Energy Education Policy, Planning, and Energy Security
Center for Corporate Climate Leadership    
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership    
ENERGY STAR for Buildings and Plants      
ENERGY STAR for Government    
ENERGY STAR for Industry      
ENERGY STAR Products    
ENERGY STAR Residential - Existing Homes      
ENERGY STAR Residential - New Homes      
Green Power Partnership    
Heat Island Reduction Program      
Landfill Methane Outreach Program      
Local Climate and Energy Program  
National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency  
State Climate and Energy Program  

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Tools and Resources

Energy and Environment Guide to Action

The Energy and Environment Guide to Action: State Policies and Best Practices for Advancing Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Combined Heat and Power provides in-depth information about over a dozen policies and programs that states are using to meet their energy, environmental, and economic objectives. The Guide to Action is intended for use by state energy, environment, and economic policy-makers and regulators.

National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency

The National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency is a private–public initiative that provides a number of resources to aid in the design and implementation of policies and programs to improve energy efficiency:

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