Green power programs on the rise in both red and blue states — report

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, September 14, 2014

Green energy programs have expanded in blue states as well as deeply conservative ones like Texas and Mississippi in recent years, according to a study released yesterday by Stanford University and the Hoover Institution.

“Many states, from all parts of the country and from all political perspectives, are taking steps to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy,” the report said.

“Put simply, both red states and blue states are turning green, whether measured in dollar-savings or environmental benefit,” it added.

The report focused on recent efforts in red states run by conservative lawmakers.

In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant (R) last year signed a package of bills into law that set energy efficiency standards for commercial buildings. Mississippi also put a program in place to reduce energy use in state-owned buildings.

In Arizona, two of the state’s top utilities introduced a new electricity pricing system that encourages consumers to cut down on energy during peak hours.

North Carolina created a renewable portfolio standard in 2007, becoming the first state in the region to do so. The standard requires investor-owned utilities to generate 12.5 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021.

“Doing the renewable portfolio standard helped put North Carolina on the map,” said Dan Crawford, a lobbyist for the North Carolina League of Conversation Voters.

But states like North Carolina that have passed renewable energy measures can still face stiff opposition from Republican lawmakers.

Last year, North Carolina’s GOP-controlled Legislature tried to repeal the RPS. The effort failed, but Crawford said lawmakers will likely mount a second attempt to roll back the standard in 2015.