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
The New Mexico legislature passed a bill that requires the state's utilities to generate at least 5 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2006. The standard will increase by 1 percent per year through 2011, when it will reach 10 percent. The bill, signed by Governor Bill Richardson on March 4, 2004, placed into statute a rule that the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) had approved in late 2002. The new law directs the PRC to determine a reasonable cost threshold for compliance with the standard by December 31, 2004. Public utilities will not have to purchase renewable energy that would exceed the reasonable cost threshold. In addition, the law charges the PRC with establishing a system of tradable renewable energy certificates. The existing PRC rule also requires public utilities to offer its retail customers the option of purchasing, for a price premium, renewable energy in addition to energy required by the renewable portfolio standard.
On February 3, 2004, California State Treasurer Phil Angelides announced the new Green Wave Environmental Investment Initiative, and called on the state’s two largest pension funds to commit $1.5 billion to invest in cutting-edge clean technologies and environmentally responsible companies. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) have an estimated combined value of over $250 billion and own nearly 160 million square feet of office space. Angelides’ four-pronged initiative calls on the two pension funds to use their financial clout to prod corporations to provide meaningful, consistent, and robust reporting of their environmental practices, risks, and potential liabilities; to target private investment in environmental technologies; to invest in environmentally responsible companies; and to determine whether their real estate investments are using clean energy and energy efficiency and conforming to green building standards. CalPERS' board of directors voted in March 2004 to make an initial investment of $200 million in environmentally sensitive technologies. CalSTRS followed in June, approving an initial $250 million.
On January 29, 2004, public benefit funds from 12 states announced the new Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a non-profit organization that will provide information and technical help to its member funds as they work together to promote renewable and clean energy markets in the United States. Together, the 17 publicly managed clean energy funds from 12 states—California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin—will provide about $3.5 billion toward the effort over the next decade. Public benefit funds, which are collected through charges on customers’ electric bills or through required utility contributions, are used to support energy efficiency programs or renewable energy projects. CESA has already begun to promote solar, wind, fuel cells, and other clean energy projects and investments by helping the states share information and strategies. “States see clean energy as a way to improve the environment, but also as a powerful economic tool,” according to Lewis Milford, Executive Director of CESA. “By working together, these states can build even bigger clean energy markets, spur technology innovation, create more jobs and more quickly clean up the environment.”
On January 20, 2004, the State of Maryland passed a law requiring stricter energy efficiency standards for nine residential and commercial appliances. The law covers ceiling fans, torchiere lighting fixtures, commercial washers, refrigerators, heaters and air conditioners, traffic signals, illuminated exit signs, and building transformers. Similar bills have been introduced in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Illinois and Florida. California is already developing tougher standards for 15 appliances under a directive from its state legislature. The Maryland law is based on model standards proposed by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. Appliances meeting the new standards are already widely available. Maryland residents and businesses are expected to save over $620 million in energy costs and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 192,000 metric tons by the year 2020, according to Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, Inc.
In his 2004 State of the State Message, West Virginia Governor Bob Wise announced his intention to establish a state requirement for reporting of greenhouse gases. In the address, delivered January 14, 2004, Governor Wise said, "We can no longer bury our head in the sand on the issue of greenhouse gases. To protect the vitality of West Virginia's energy-based economy, we must continue to take a leadership role on climate change issues. We are taking the first step to understand the effects of greenhouse gases by introducing legislation to require facilities to register their emissions of greenhouse gases." The proposed legislation would grant the state's Department of Environmental Protection the authority to develop reporting requirements.
On November 4 and 5, 2003, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, under a grant from the Joyce Foundation, held a workshop in Chicago, IL, on State Policy Solutions to Climate Change. This workshop brought together state officials from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. State agencies represented included Agriculture, Commerce, Natural Resources, Environmental Protection, Administration, Energy, and Transportation. The purpose of the workshop was to have state officials share their experiences in implementing programs that reduce greenhouse gases and to reflect on the lessons learned.
The governors of the three Pacific states announced September 22, 2003, that they would work together to develop policies that address climate change. Governors Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, Gray Davis of California, and Gary Locke of Washington have directed their staffs to cooperate during the next year to arrive at policy recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The recommendations, which are to be presented to the governors no later than September 1, 2004, will address ways that the three states can work together to obtain fuel efficient vehicles, reduce emissions from diesel fuel, encourage renewable energy production, implement uniform efficiency standards, and develop coordinated greenhouse gas emission inventories, protocols for reporting, and accounting methods for greenhouse gas emissions. "Our current federal policies will not lead to a reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gasses associated with climate change," said Governor Locke. "The governors of the West Coast states have concluded that in the absence of meaningful federal action, we must act individually and regionally to address the sources of global warming".
General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, and Isuzu announced August 12, 2003, that they had reached a settlement with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) regarding California's 1990 zero emission vehicle legislation. The companies agreed to drop their lawsuit in exchange for modifications made to the rule. The adapted rule gives companies two choices for meeting their ZEV requirements. The first option is to sell a mix of zero emission vehicles, hybrid-electric vehicles, and extremely clean gasoline-powered vehicles, adding up to ten percent of total vehicles sales. Instead of fulfilling the zero-emission portion of that mix, automakers may choose to produce a certain number of fuel cell vehicles, beginning with a sales-weighted market share of 250 fuel cell vehicles in 2008 and rising gradually to reach 50,000 vehicles in 2015.
Governors from ten Northeast states announced July 24, 2003, that they would join together in a regional strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. New York's Governor Pataki sent out letters in April to the governors from ten other Northeast states requesting their participation in the development of a regional cap-and-trade program. The governors from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey responded with interest in working with New York. Maryland declined to participate now, but may join discussions later.
On June 26, 2003, Connecticut Governor John Rowland signed legislation amending the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Connecticut's RPS defines two categories of renewable energy, Class I and Class II, and sets separate requirements for both classes. Under the amended law, Class I includes wind, solar PV, fuel cells, methane gas from landfills, ocean thermal power, wave or tidal power, and some hydropower and biomass. Hydropower facilities that began operation before July 1, 2003 or have a capacity of 5 MW or more are no longer eligible for Class I requirements, which are set at 1 percent in 2004, rising to 7 percent by 2010. Class II includes municipal solid waste facilities, along with certain hydropower and biomass facilities that do not qualify under Class I. Class II requirements are set at 3 percent from 2004 through 2010. Under the previous RPS, renewable requirements applied only to competitive electric suppliers; the new RPS extends the requirements to utilities, which serve the majority of Connecticut's customers.