Despite concerns about rollback efforts affecting Renewable Portfolio Standards in US states, just eight states of 30 that proposed legislation in the 2013 session have enacted laws, with all eight acting to either modify or increase their standard, according to research by Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy.
There are currently 30 mandatory and 7 voluntary renewable portfolio standards across US states.While challenges to the RPSs are not a new trend, efforts appeared to gain momentum following the release of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s “Electricity Freedom Act late last year, according to the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker trend report.
In total, there were 121 bills proposed in state legislatures nationwide aimed at altering renewable portfolio standards in the 2013 session. Of that 121, 26 proposed rolling back a state’s renewable portfolio standard, 29 proposed increasing a state’s standard, and 66 proposed modifying a standard, according to the tracker report.
In Colorado – one of the eight states that actually passed RPS legislation – legislators enacted SB 252, which will increase the RPS for cooperatives to 25 percent by 2020.
Maryland enacted three bills. HB 1084 established a Thermal Renewable Energy Credit Task Force to analyze how to modify the RPS in order to incorporate certain thermal energy sources. HB 1534 alters the definition of “solar water heating system” to include certain concentrating solar thermal collectors. HB 226 creates a carveout (2.5 percent by 2017) for offshore wind, according to to the tracker report.
In Minnesota, despite the introduction of the ALEC-inspired companion bills (HF 306 and SF 97), which would have repealed the state’s standard, the Legislature approved, and Governor Dayton is expected to sign, an omnibus bill (HF 956) that includes a 1.5 percent solar carve-out, 10 percent of this to be met by distributed generation, according to to the tracker report.
The Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker was launched in May, to monitor the progress of bills that could change the way Americans produce, buy and use energy. The Center expects to publish 2-3 trend analyses per month.