By Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition
February 13th, 2017
As the New Year starts, we want to share good news about what our fellow governors
Several years ago, the Coalition published a report entitled Renewable Electricity
Standards: State Success Stories. The preface begins,
This is a story of how visionary leadership and good policy can lift the nation’s states to a
higher level of economic prosperity by diversifying electricity generation and reducing the
risk of price spikes for consumers and businesses. It is a story of how successful bipartisan
collaboration can result in strong policy initiatives that benefit generations of Americans.
Recent reports by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Laboratories this month
confirm once again that gubernatorial and legislative leadership is creating thousands
of jobs and providing enormous environmental benefits. There are now 29 states with
renewable portfolio standards (RPS), and those states are benefiting as a result. Nearly
60 percent of new renewable electricity capacity since 2000 is directly linked to state
RPS requirements. The total renewable electricity demand under the collective state
RPS policies is expected to double by 2030.
Iowa is among the states that laid the foundation for today’s renewable energy industries.
In 1983, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed the nation’s first renewable energy
standard. More than 30 years later, Iowa will soon generate more than 40 percent of its
energy from wind and solar energy. Rhode Island extended and expanded its Renewable
Energy Standard law requirements in June 2016 by requiring 38.5 percent renewables
Here are a few other recent examples of state renewable energy leadership:
- In Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law last month a bill that set Illinois’
RPS at 25 percent by 2025, largely achievable with wind and solar energy.
- In Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law legislation that raises the state’s renewable portfolio
standard from the current 10 percent to 15 percent by 2021.
- In Ohio, Governor John Kasich vetoed legislation that would have made Ohio’s RPS ineffective. In his
veto message, he said the bill would curtail “progress by taking away some of those energy generation
options, particularly the very options most prized by the companies poised to create many jobs in Ohio
in the coming year.”
- South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Minnesota, Idaho, Colorado, and Oregon are just a
few of the states that are now generating 10 percent or more of their electricity from renewable energy
It is our hope that the new Administration and Congress will recognize the vital role that renewable
energy now plays in our states’ economies — creating jobs and strengthening national security. As the
nation’s governors have demonstrated, strong state renewable energy policies support the energy growth
our nation needs.
Gina M. Raimondo
Governor of Rhode Island
Vice Chair and
Governor of Kansas