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 were formed in response to the energy crisis of the early 1970s. They have evolved to become important agents of change – advancing practical energy policies and supporting energy technology research, demonstration, and deployment. In partnership with the private sector, the SEOs accelerate energy-related economic development and enhance environmental quality through energy solutions that address their citizens' needs and enhance national energy security.

The SEOs' work is generally under the direction of the governors or legislatures, and is funded by state and federal appropriations, such as the U.S. State Energy Program (SEP).   State Energy Offices are deeply involved in energy efficiency programs and allocate or oversee more than $7 billion of energy 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;
  • Support the private sectors’ advanced manufacturing and industrial efficiency efforts as a means to retain and create jobs;
  • Assist in achieving energy-related environmental goals;
  • Assist energy providers and consumers during energy emergencies and natural disasters 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;
  • Manage certain federal energy research, development, deployment and demonstration programs more effectively and at lower costs than many traditional federal program management mechanisms;
  • Work with other state agencies to deploy cost-effective, state-of-the-art technologies to reduce public facility energy 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 cost-effective energy efficiency measures.

In addition, many State Energy Offices develop State Energy Plans that provide a strategy for how to meet future energy needs in an environmental and economic way.