States can lead the way toward a future powered by 100% clean, renewable energy

100% clean energy commitments are growing clean energy and reducing pollution. It’s time to lean in.

Clean energy

staff | TPIN

States are leading the way on clean energy

When California passed Senate Bill (SB) 100 in 2018, it propelled a nationwide movement for 100% clean and renewable energy. SB 100 set a statewide goal to power all of California’s electricity needs with 100% clean energy by 2045. By codifying a 100% clean energy goal into law, California signaled its intention to transition to clean energy. The legislative commitment guaranteed a market for clean energy to grow.

Kathy Fors from To The Point Collaborative | TPIN
Kathy Fors from To The Point Collaborative | Used by permission
Setting goals fuels a virtuous cycle to grow renewable energy

Aiming high drives clean energy growth

Today, clean energy’s growth has surpassed even the goals we have set for ourselves. America today generates 3 times more clean, renewable electricity than it did in 2012. And on May 8, 2022, California generated 103.5% of its energy from renewable energy sources. 

The below table compiles state-by-state legislative commitments to 100% clean or renewable energy along with relevant benchmarks codified into law in that state. 

State What is the 100% commitment to? By when? Key benchmarks
California Clean energy 2045 44% renewable by 2024, 50% renewable by 2026, 52% renewable by 2027, 60% renewable by 2030, 90% clean by 2035, 95% clean by 2040, 100% clean by 2045
Connecticut Clean energy 2040 100% clean by 2040, 40% renewable by 2030
Hawaii Renewable energy 2045 100% renewable by 2045, 40% renewable by 2030, 70% renewable by 2040
Illinois Clean energy 2050 100% clean by 2050, 40% clean by 2030, 50% clean by 2040
Maine Clean energy 2050 100% clean by 2050, 80% clean by 2030
Nevada Clean energy 2050 100% clean by 2050, 50% clean by 2030
New Mexico Clean energy 2045 100% clean by 2045, at least 80% renewable by 2045, 40% renewable by 2025, 50% renewable by 2030
New York Clean energy 2040 100% clean by 2040, 70% renewable by 2030
Oregon Clean energy 2040 80% emissions reductions for power sold in-state by 2030 compared to 2010 baseline, 90 percent by 2035, 100 percent by 2040, 50% renewable by 2040
Rhode Island Renewable energy 2033 100% renewable by 2033, annual increases in renewables through 2033
Virginia Clean energy 2050 100% clean by 2050. Some utilities are required to achieve a renewables target of 14% by 2025, 30% by 2030, 65% by 2040, and 100% by 2050. Other utilities have a renewables requirement of 26% by 2025, 41% by 2030, and 100% by 2045
Washington Clean energy 2045 100% renewable or zero-emitting by 2045

States must carry forward the promise of clean energy

Today, state-level clean energy leadership is needed more than ever. There are many ways states can lead on clean energy, including to:

Set goals

Set 100% renewable energy goals

Legislatively codifying a 100% goal signals a state’s intention and brings all parties together toward a common objective.

Set interim goals

State 100% renewable energy goals most effectively drive progress grow clean energy best when they include clear interim benchmarks. Interim goals act as the guide star for state agencies that oversee energy in the state. Interim goals help ensure the state hits its 100% goal in a timely and organized manner.

Set goals for key clean energy technologies

Specific targets for key technologies such as solar power, offshore wind energy, and energy storage spur growth and innovation of those technologies.

Regularly revisit goals and consider accelerating timelines

Renewable energy is growing by leaps and bounds. To make sure goals keep driving progress, states with existing clean or renewable commitments should regularly revisit and consider accelerating their timelines.

Lead by example

State leaders can require state agencies to reach 100% clean or renewable energy on an earlier timetable than the rest of their state. These “walk the talk” provisions can help put states in position to capitalize on clean energy resources such as geothermal.

Other recommendations

Save solar and don’t impose unfair fees on solar owners

 Ensure that utility regulations support the growth of renewable energy, including through policies such as “net metering”. Net metering policies compensate owners of renewable energy systems fairly for the energy they supply to the grid. Regulators must not impose unreasonable fees on solar owners.

Cut red tape

 States should encourage or require the adoption of Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP+), a fast, automated online permitting system developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and available free of charge for local governments.

Bring clean energy economy-wide

States should encourage or require the transition to electric vehicles and buildings through strong “clean car” standards and improved building codes.

Invest in the cleanest energy

States should invest in energy efficiency and conservation programs, and set strong building energy codes and efficiency standards for lighting and appliances.

Sources & Notes

Sources

Data for the table were compiled from https://www.cesa.org/projects/100-clean-energy-collaborative/guide/table-of-100-clean-energy-states/

Notes

Environment America does not include Connecticut or Nevada in its list of states committed to 100% clean or renewable energy because those states do not clearly enough grow renewable energy in the short-term.

Topics
Authors

Johanna Neumann

Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, Environment America

Johanna directs strategy and staff for Environment America's energy campaigns at the local, state and national level. In her prior positions, she led the campaign to ban smoking in all Maryland workplaces, helped stop the construction of a new nuclear reactor on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and helped build the support necessary to pass the EmPOWER Maryland Act, which set a goal of reducing the state’s per capita electricity use by 15 percent. She also currently serves on the board of Community Action Works. Johanna lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her family, where she enjoys growing dahlias, biking and the occasional game of goaltimate. 

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