U.S. States & Regions
States and regions across the country are adopting climate policies, including the development of regional greenhouse gas reduction markets, the creation of state and local climate action and adaptation plans, and increasing renewable energy generation. Read More
In the first half of October 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed 10 bills promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007 (AB 1470) requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to create financial incentives for solar hot water systems that will replace the use of natural gas water heaters. Similar incentives already exist for replacing electric hot water heaters under the California Solar Initiative. The incentives will be funded by a surcharge on the bills of most natural gas customers. A second bill, AB 1109, requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to adopt energy efficiency standards for general purpose lights, and is expected to phase out the use of incandescent light bulbs in the state. Under AB 662 and AB 1560, the CEC is allowed to set water standards for appliances and required to incorporate water standards into the state’s existing building standards. For utilities, AB 1103 requires record keeping of energy use for nonresidential buildings, and AB 1613 authorizes the CPUC to require that utilities buy excess power from combined heat and power systems. AB 118 establishes a $2 raise in vehicle registration fees to fund the new Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which will provide financial assistance to develop and deploy low carbon fuels and vehicles. AB 809 limits the use of state funds for hydrogen vehicles and expands the state’s definition of hydropower eligible for renewable energy requirements to include hydropower installed in water supply systems and incremental efficiency improvements at existing facilities. AB 532 extends the original deadline established in 2001 legislation (SBX2 82) for existing state buildings and parking facilities to install solar energy systems where feasible from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2009. All new state buildings or parking facilities will also have to install solar energy systems where feasible if construction begins on or after January 1, 2008, extended in AB 532 from the original date of January 1, 2003. Finally, SB 1036 eliminates the Renewable Resource Trust Fund and refunds customers.
Governer's Press Release
Legislation: AB 1470, AB 1109, AB 662, AB 1103, AB 1560, AB 118,
AB 809, AB 532, AB 1613, SB 1036
On October 18, 2007, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Roderick Bremby rejected an air permit for a proposed coal-fired power plant based on the threat to public health and the environment of carbon dioxide emissions. In the past, air permits have been denied over emissions such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury, but this marks the first rejection based on impacts from carbon dioxide emissions. The decision was based in part on an April Supreme Court decision that greenhouse gasses should be considered pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The plant was expected to produce 11 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.
On September 14, 2007, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin signed Administrative Order 238, establishing the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet. The sub-cabinet will consolidate the state’s knowledge of climate change in order to recommend policies and measures to guide the state’s mitigation and adaptation efforts. It includes the commissioners of the Departments of Commerce, Community and Economic Development; Natural Resources; Fish and Game; Transportation and Public Facilities; and Environmental Conservation (Chair). The Administrative Order also directs the group to consult with the president of the University of Alaska and explore ways to promote development of renewable energy sources such as geothermal, wind, hydroelectric, and tidal resources. Governor also signed a letter adding Alaska as an observer to the Western Climate Initiative.
On September 12, 2007, Governor Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia released the Virginia Energy Plan. The Plan aims to increase the state’s energy independence, conservation, and efficiency, and was drafted pursuant to 2006 legislation which directed the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to develop a ten-year state energy plan. The recommendations were prepared by an advisory group representing citizens, consumers, the environmental community, and Virginia energy producers. The primary goals of the plan are to reduce the rate of growth in energy use by 40 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2025, and increase in-state energy production by 20 percent. The Plan also recommends consumer energy education, strategic economic development, alternative energy research, and the creation of a Climate Change Commission to assess the level of Virginia’s carbon emissions, related consequences, and potential further action. The Plan is to be updated every 5 years.
On September 12, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont decided case number 2:05-cv-302 against a group of automobile manufacturers challenging Vermont’s vehicle emissions standards for greenhouse gases. In August of 2005, the Vermont Air Pollution Control Division introduced an amendment to Vermont’s vehicle regulations. The amendment would require the state to adopt California’s proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards for motor vehicles. The standards would be gradually phased in between model-years 2009 and 2016, and by model-year 2016, would require reductions of tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles of approximately 30 percent. Vermont and 13 other states are poised to adopt the California standards. During the trial, auto industry executives argued that the proposed regulations would fail to stop global warming while imposing heavy costs for the industry. In issuing his ruling, Judge William Sessions III cited public statements of industry representatives, the state of the record, and the ingenuity of the industry in facing previous challenges. A similar legal challenge is still pending in California.
On August 28, 2007, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois signed into law Public Act 095-0481, which sets a statewide Renewable Energy Standard and an Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. Under the RES, utilities in Illinois must produce a certain percentage of their power from renewable sources, starting with 2 percent in 2008 and increasing to 25 percent by 2025. Seventy-five percent of the electricity used to meet the renewable standard must come from wind power generation; other eligible electricity resources include solar, biomass, and existing hydropower sources. The law also includes an efficiency standard that requires utilities to implement cost-effective energy efficiency measures to reduce electric usage by 2 percent of demand by 2015.
On August 22, 2007, members of the Western Climate Initiative announced a regional, economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions target of 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, or approximately 33 percent below business-as-usual levels. Under the memorandum of understanding developed in February 2007, WCI members (which currently include the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Manitoba) agreed to jointly set a regional emissions target, and establish, by August 2008, a market-based system – such as a cap-and-trade program covering multiple economic sectors – to aid in meeting it. The regional target is designed to be consistent with existing targets set by individual member states and does not replace these goals. Covered emissions include the six primary greenhouse gases identified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.
Western Climate Initiative Statement of Regional Goal
Western Climate Initiative Website
Map of Regional Initiatives
On August 20, 2007, Governor Mike Easley of North Carolina signed into law S.L. 2007-397, which establishes a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard for the state. With enactment of the law, half the U.S. states and the District of Columbia now have mandatory renewable energy standards. Under North Carolina's law, by 2021 electric public utilities must meet 12.5% of retail electricity demand through renewable energy or energy efficiency measures, and electric membership corporations and municipalities that sell electric power in the state would have to meet a standard of 10 percent by 2018. Resources that can be used to meet the standard include solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, geothermal energy, ocean current or wave energy, biomass resources, and energy efficiency measures. The law also includes provisions to encourage the use of solar energy, swine and poultry wastes, as well as implementation of energy efficiency programs.
On August 6, 2007, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed House Bill 3543, which sets greenhouse gas emissions targets for the state. HB 3543 directs the state to stop the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 and to reduce GHG emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and to 75 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The bill creates the Oregon Global Warming Commission to recommend to state and local governments ways to reduce GHG emissions and measures the state may adopt to mitigate the impacts of global warming. By March of every other year, starting in 2009, the Commission is to submit to the Legislative Assembly a report of the state’s progress towards its GHG emissions reduction goal. HB 3543 creates the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, which is charged to facilitate research by Oregon University System faculty on climate change and its effects. The bill allocates $180,000 to the Climate Change Research Institute.
Map of States with Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets
Map of States with Active Climate Commissions and Advisory Groups
On July 24, 2007, Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner signed Senate Bill 19, which expands the state’s existing renewable portfolio standard to require that 2 percent of the state’s electricity supply come from solar photovoltaics by 2019, in addition to 18 percent from other renewable sources by the same date. Sources of energy that count toward the standard include wind, ocean tidal, ocean thermal, fuel cells powered by renewable fuels, hydroelectric facilities with a maximum capacity of 30 megawatts, sustainable biomass, anaerobic digestion, and landfill gas.
Map of States with Renewable Portfolio Standards