State and territory energy policies and programs are vital to spurring economic development, increasing energy efficiency, and expanding clean, domestic energy resources.
The 56 State and Territory Energy Offices are important agents of change – advancing practical energy policies, informing regulatory processes, and supporting energy technology research, demonstration, and deployment. In partnership with the private sector, the SEOs accelerate energy-related economic development and support meeting state climate goals through energy solutions that address their citizens' needs and enhance physical and cyber energy security.
SEOs' work is generally under the direction of the governors or legislatures, and is funded by both state and federal appropriations, such as the U.S. State Energy Program (SEP). State Energy Directors and their offices are deeply involved in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and allocate or oversee more than $7 billion of efficiency funds derived from ratepayers and state appropriations each year.
The activities of State Energy Offices vary, depending upon states' indigenous resources and needs. However, most State Energy Offices:
- Advise governors and legislators on energy issues;
- Ensure that the needs and issues of industry, business, and residential energy consumers are considered during energy policy and program development and regulatory proceedings;
- Support the private sectors’ advanced manufacturing efforts as a means to retain and create jobs;
- Assist in achieving energy-related climate and environmental goals;
- Assist energy providers and consumers during energy emergencies (physical and cyber) to mitigate supply disruptions and coordinate state, local and regional responses;
- Aid citizens – through education and incentives – in adopting energy efficiency measures that lower utility costs and reduce waste;
- Demonstrate the application of emerging energy technologies in real-world situations;
- Coordinate and leverage private investment in energy research, innovation, and demonstration programs;
- Work with other state agencies to deploy cost-effective, state-of-the-art technologies to reduce public facility energy and water consumption at the state and local levels; and
- Communicate to the public the importance of energy to economic development and the environment, emphasizing the value of clean, affordable energy.
In addition, many State Energy Offices develop State Energy Plans that provide a strategy for how to meet future energy needs in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.