Prominent state leaders offer insights on transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy

Media Contacts
Emma Searson

Josh Chetwynd

Online panel hosted by Environment America Research & Policy Center emphasizes the importance of state and local energy leadership

Environment America Research & Policy Center

BOSTON — Leaders from California, Pennsylvania and Florida called for continued state action to advance renewable energy during an online discussion Tuesday hosted by Environment America Research & Policy Center. 

The discussion featured Sacramento Municipal Utility District Board of Directors District 7 Representative Heidi Sanborn, former Pennsylvania state Sen. Charles McIlhinney, Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani, Acting President of Environment America Wendy Wendlandt and Johanna Neumann, senior director of Environment America Research & Policy Center’s Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy. The panel all pointed to efforts to move their state toward a future powered by 100 percent renewable energy as examples of the crucial role of state leadership in securing energy progress.

“It’s not a Republican or Democrat thing,” said former Sen. McIlhinney. “It’s an idea: Do we want to have 100 percent renewable energy for everybody someday? I think everyone can agree on that.” He later added: “Shouldn’t we, as policy makers, be setting that goal?”

This position reflects a bipartisan support clean energy has across the country. Now-retired Sen. McIlhinney, a Republican, introduced legislation to transition Pennsylvania to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. His bill was reintroduced during the 2020 session by Republican state Sen. Tom Killion and Democratic state Rep. Chris Rabb and was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 100 legislators. Similarly, Rep. Eskamani, a Democrat, has sponsored bills for Florida to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 for the past two years. 

“Renewable energy is not just a liberal issue,” said Rep. Eskamani. “It’s linked to national security, health and well-being, and our tourist economy here in Florida. I’m working on filling those gaps in the conversation.”

Environment America Research & Policy Center, which sponsored the event, is campaigning for commitments to 100 percent clean and renewable energy from states, cities and institutions. The hope is that each new pledge can set an example for the nation. 

“Thanks to state and local commitments we’ve seen tremendous growth in clean energy and there’s no sign of slowing down,” Neumann said. “Clearly there’s more work to be done, and our game plan moving forward is to continue people-powered organizing and advocacy to encourage the virtuous cycle.”


Environment America Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit