Recently, there's been a flurry of state-level action to advance clean, renewable energy resources such as wind, bioenergy, and solar. Below, we provide an update on the latest activity and introduce several new and updated Union of Concerned Scientists resources for renewable energy advocates, policy makers, researchers, and concerned citizens, including the Renewable Electricity Standards Toolkit—a user-friendly resource for learning about and tracking state standards.
State-level Action on Renewable Energy
State-level Action on Renewable Energy
Already this year, , , and most recently, have significantly boosted their renewable electricity standards—requiring electric providers to gradually increase the amount of energy they supply from renewable sources. Both and increased their standards for investor-owned utilities to 20 percent by 2020, and set a 10 percent by 2020 standard for other utilities. In , the legislature adopted a 30 percent by 2020 standard for (the state's largest utility) and a 25 percent by 2025 standard for all other utilities. These expansions reflect a growing trend in state level renewable electricity standards as 10 states have now increased or accelerated their requirements since 2005.
UCS projects that the 21 states and the that have already adopted renewable electricity standards are on track to reduce their global warming pollution by 108 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2020—an amount equivalent to taking 17.7 million cars off the road. The recent clean energy victories in , , and , which together account for 20 MMT of CO2 reductions by 2020, helped put the states over the 100 MMT milestone.
By 2020, UCS also projects the state standards will produce more than 46,000 megawatts of clean, renewable power, enough to meet the needs of 28.5 million typical homes. State renewable electricity standards are expanding, with at least 10 more states—including , , and —considering adopting a requirement or raising an existing one. The success of state renewable electricity standards is helping build momentum for a federal standard of 20 percent by 2020. The federal standard would increase renewable energy output nearly four times over current state standards.Urge your senators to support a national renewable energy standard.
New and Updated Resources Available from UCS
Renewable Electricity Standard Toolkit
To help track state standards, UCS has developed a new, one-stop resource, the Renewable Electricity Standards Toolkit. The toolkit includes summaries of all 22 standards as well as maps illustrating existing standards and projections for future renewable energy development. In addition, it features a database with detailed information about state standards ranging from how renewable energy technologies are defined to how standards are enforced. The toolkit also makes it easy to evaluate how the standards compare with each other overall and on key elements, and to access legislation and regulatory documents.
UCS Fact Sheet: U.S. Department of Energy Study Shows State Renewable Electricity Standards Are Affordable
This new UCS fact sheet summarizes a recent analysis from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that compares the results from 28 state or utility-level renewable electricity standard cost studies. The report finds that 70 percent of the studies reviewed project retail electricity rate increases of no greater than one percent. Six of the studies result in cost savings for electricity consumers.
UCS Fact Sheet: Renewable Electricity Standards at Work in the States
The newly updated fact sheet provides summary information on state-level renewable electricity standard activity, including which states have a standard, projections of new development, and how several of the states are doing in achieving their requirements so far.
UCS Fact Sheet: Successful Climate Solutions - Renewable Electricity Standards
The newly updated fact sheet provides information on how states are demonstrating the potential of the renewable electricity standard as a successful strategy for reducing CO2 emissions. Details on how a national renewable electricity standard could significantly increase climate benefits is also provided.