New Report: States Across the Nation Reaping Rewards From Renewable Energy Standards

Governors' Wind Energy Coalition • Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition Finds Smart Energy Laws Spur Investments and Create Jobs

Washington, D.C. – The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition today released an analysis showing the positive impact of smart energy laws across the nation, including $25 billion worth of investment in wind energy alone and the creation of thousands of jobs. The report entitled, “Renewable Electricity Standards: State Success Stories” was produced by the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group of governors who are dedicated to the development of the nation’s wind energy resources.

“Renewable Energy Standards are great examples of bipartisan collaboration resulting in smart policies,” said Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and the Coalition’s chairman. “In state after state, we’ve developed reliable, home-grown energy, creating $25 billion worth of investment in wind energy alone, as well as thousands of good-paying jobs.”

As of 2011, Renewable Energy Standards (RES) have led to new renewable energy projects that have delivered more than 33,000 megawatts (MW) of new home grown, renewable power in more than 30 states. This is the enough energy to power nearly 10 million homes. Once fully achieved, current state standards will support more than 103,000 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2025, or about 10 percent of the nation’s current electric generation capacity. This will be enough energy to power more than 17 million homes.

The study also found:

  • RES projects have led to billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs across the nation.
  • Eight of the ten largest global wind turbine makers have domestic factories, up from just one in 2004. Many components come from the Midwest, a region with a well-established manufacturing infrastructure, excellent wind resources, and some of the nation’s strongest state RES policies.
  • RES policies are driving solar energy, with standards in 18 of the 20 top solar states and most growth in the Northeast and West.

States have tailored their eligibility rules to local circumstances to spur new projects while excluding older renewable energy projects like large hydroelectric power.

RES success to date has been driven by bi-partisan support in many states.

  • Of the 37 states with standards or goals, 22 had mixed party control of the legislature or governor’s office at the time of enactment.
  • The remaining 15 states had single-party control and that number was virtually split right down the middle.

The U.S. Department of Energy found that utilities are meeting about 96 percent of their renewable energy goals. To date, 18 states have increased or accelerated their renewable energy targets, in some cases more than once. In 2009 and 2010, all but three of the states that had an annual compliance target achieved greater than 90 percent compliance, with most states reporting full compliance. A number of states including Colorado, Texas, and Minnesota are several years ahead of schedule in terms of meeting future annual renewable energy targets.

While no state has yet repealed or reduced its standard, a few states including Kansas, Missouri and Ohio are considering legislation to repeal, delay or allow mature energy sources such as hydropower, to count toward RES.

The report, entitled: “Renewable Electricity Standards: State Success Stories” is available for download here.