State energy plans and the planning process overall help to guide and build consensus among stakeholders in moving toward a shared goal of meeting future energy needs in a cost-effective and sustainable manner. A well-constructed state energy plan provides an assessment of current and future energy supply and demand, examines existing energy policies, and identifies emerging energy challenges and opportunities.
In 2011, NASEO collected State Energy Plans from 38 states and the District of Columbia to establish a baseline of energy planning processes, plan elements, and market implications in a report titled, "An Overview of Statewide Comprehensive Energy Plans" From this research, NASEO also developed a set of State Energy Planning Guidelines.
As of 2014, at least 36 states have active energy plans and 18 states are updating or developing new state energy plans. Operational plans and status of new plans/updates are presented below.