In the last few weeks, state-level stakeholders around the country have been busy reforming renewable portfolio standards, proposing changes to net metering policies, and studying the potential effects of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Also, in an unprecedented move, the Hawaii state legislature voted to make electricity generation 100 percent renewable by 2045.
More on these developments in our state dispatch below.
As action unfolds in the states, there’s also been some meaningful activity on clean energy at the federal level in recent weeks. Sen. Angus King, an Independent from Maine, introduced a bold piece of legislation last week designed to promote personal energy independence through advanced technologies. The bill would ensure that distributed energy resources are able to be connected to the grid in a reasonable timeframe for a reasonable price, and with reasonable compensation for the benefits they offer utilities. Also last week, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation that would boost funding for smart grid technology.
Lawmakers in Hawaii passed legislation last week (in a 74-2 vote) requiring the state to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2045. If HB 623 is signed into law by Governor David Ige, Hawaii will become the first U.S. state to attempt complete decarbonization of the power sector.
Today, Hawaii’s energy mix is more than 80 percent fossil fuel, with oil providing the majority of electricity generation on the islands. However, renewables are growing fast. Hawaiian Electric Company, the state’s sole privately owned utility company, previously determined it would be feasible to reach 40 percent renewables by 2030. Getting to 100 percent by 2045 will be difficult, but not entirely far-fetched.
The Illinois state legislature is currently considering several controversial pieces of legislation.
There’s HB 3328, a bill backed by ComEd, which would encourage utilities to invest in renewable energy, smart grids and other grid-edge technologies. The bill would also change net metering policies and implement demand charges starting in 2018, which is a concern for solar companies.
Wisconsin recently became the 14th state in a group of states suing the EPA over the Clean Power Plan. Opponents say the proposed carbon cuts are far too costly.
Democratic state legislators introduced a package of bills last month to reform Michigan’s energy policy, ahead of its expiration at the end of the year (HB 4055, HB 4518, HB 4519, SB 295, SB 297). The “Powering Michigan’s Future” legislation would increase Michigan’s renewable energy target to 20 percent by 2022 (doubling a 10 percent target by 2015 that was established in 2008), double the energy efficiency standard, and eliminate the renewable energy surcharge.
Read more at Hawaii Passes Legislation to Go 100% Renewable