Reducing States' Renewable Energy Standards Largely Unsuccessful


A Green Strategies Bulletin

With most 2013 state legislative sessions now adjourned or waning, Stateline, the daily news of the Pew Charitable Trusts, reports that "no state this year repealed its renewable energy requirement, lowered its percentage mandate or extended utilities’ deadlines for meeting it," despite strong efforts by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other groups to get such legislation passed.

With mandates in place for 29 states and the District of Columbia, 50 bills were proposed in 2011 and 2012 that aimed to weaken these energy laws. Only five succeeded, but "none dramatically changed the policy," the article said.

These efforts have failed in part due to some conservative legislators finding themselves unable to deny the jobs and other economic benefits that the renewable energy industry has brought to their states. In addition, because passage of the energy standards requires "cooperation from a broad array of interest groups," including environmentalists, manufacturers, farmers, utilities and more, few are eager to change the standards now that they're in place. Major utilities in general "rarely push for repeals or watering down mandates – even if they opposed the initial policy" because they would rather "not change course after shifting resources toward compliance," the article said. 

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