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New Tool for Identifying Best State Energy Policy Opportunities Launches

Tom Plant's picture
Center for the New Energy Economy, Colorado State University
  • Member since 2018
  • 22 items added with 13,306 views
  • May 4, 2016


The Center for the New Energy Economy (an energy policy think tank headed by Colorado’s former Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.), in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, launched a new state energy policy tool.  The policy tool is called the State Policy Opportunity Tracker (SPOT) and provides a “gap analysis” of state energy policy best practices to identify the greatest opportunities for states to advance their energy policy. You can find the SPOT tool at

As a State Legislator, I would get thousands of people coming to me with ideas for various policy initiatives – but what I really wanted to know were the answers to a few questions: 1) what do we have? 2) what are we missing? 3) what’s the problem we’re trying to solve? 4) where can I get more information? and; 5) what are other states doing?  The SPOT website seeks to provide this kind of guidance all in one neat and tidy package.

The SPOT website evaluates 38 “best practice” state energy policies that seek to address various different challenges to the evolving energy landscape. Within these 38 policies, there are generally 5 or 6 components that a policy may or may not have. The tool does a gap analysis – identifying for a specific state, what components the state has and what components are missing, it links to source information and provides a policy briefing that gives the background on the policy, the issue it is addressing, some model approaches across the country as well as helpful links for more information.

The user can also start with a policy, rather than a state, and see where individual states are in addressing the full implementation of the policy.

There are numerous ratings of states that identify opportunities in specific areas, such as energy efficiency, or solar policy – but this is the first to bring such a broad range of energy topics together under one roof. Similarly, there are tools like the DSIRE database that tell you what policies individual states have – but they don’t say what individual states don’t have – which is what you’re really looking for when trying to evaluate what policies are right for your state.  The SPOT tool draws data sources from 18 different organizations and pulls them together into this effective tool.

Governor Bill Ritter, who ran on a platform of creating a “New Energy Economy” and left office in 2011 after passing over 50 clean energy policies, said about the new tool, “when we look at where clean energy policy has advanced, overwhelmingly states have led the way. We believe that trend will continue. This site enables state policy makers to analyze their current state policies, and how they can go further.”

The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Public Policy Lynn Scarlett, Former Deputy Secretary of the Interior, says “Business and community leaders are eager to transition to a clean energy economy, and the information available through SPOT helps identify the policy gaps that must be filled to get us there.”

For those serving in public office, trying to identify opportunities for their state – as well as advocates of clean energy – the new SPOT tool should provide a great source of information.

Tom Plant's picture
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