Illinois and North Carolina Pass Renewable Energy Standards – Half of All States Now Have RES Policies

Illinois and North Carolina recently joined 23 other states in enacting renewable energy standard (RES) policies. Delaware also doubled it’s existing standard last month while Missouri adopted a non-binding renewable energy goal.

25 states now have RES policies with four states enacting new standards in 2007 and two others adding new renewable energy goals (see map below), making 2007 a big year for RES policies.

More on each state below…

Illinois: 25% by 2025

The Illinois General Assembly on July 26 passed energy legislation that includes a renewable energy standard (RES) of 10% by 2015 and 25% by 2025, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s newsletter, WindEnergyWeekly (subscription req.).

The bill passed the House 80-33 and the Senate 40-13 and Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) is expected to sign it soon.

Although the Illinois RES applies to all utilities, the state has a competitive electricity sector and about half of the state’s electricity customers are supplied by “alternative retail electricity suppliers” (ARES), which are not yet covered by the RES.

At least 75% of the standard must be met with wind resources and eligible resources must come from within Illinois initially and may come from Illinois or neighboring states after 2011.

“We are thrilled Illinois has passed a bold RES,” Wind on the Wires Director Beth Soholt told Wind Energy Weekly. “We congratulate all our Illinois colleagues who worked tirelessly to pass the aggressive renewable energy and energy efficiency package. Wind developers are lined up around the block to invest billions of dollars in Illinois, and they finally have a green light.”

With the Illinois energy market the fifth largest in the country, it is estimated that the RES will require more than 4,000 MW of new renewable energy to be delivered to bundled customers, WindEnergyWeekly reports. The new standards is also expected to spur renewable energy development for competitive market customers as well.
North Carolina: 12.5% by 2025

The North Carolina Senate on August 2 voted 47-1 for final passage of Senate Bill 3, WindEnergyWeekly reports. The bill includes a renewable electricity standard (RES) of 12.5% by 2021 with energy efficiency eligible to meet up to 40% standard being met with efficiency.

While the North Carolina standard is not as aggressive as standards recently adopted by other states, North Carolina is the first southeast state to adopt a renewable energy standard policy, setting an important precedent within the region.

“This [RES] sets an example for other states in the region to follow,” said Jane Preyer, director of the North Carolina regional office of Environmental Defense. “Despite its merits, the legislation has shortcomings, and the job is not over.”

Environmental Defense noted that SB 3 will reduce the state’s carbon dioxide footprint by at least 13 million metric tons by 2018, which is equivalent to taking more than a million cars off the road, it said.

In addition to the RPS, the legislation calls for simplified net metering and interconnection rules to remove regulatory barriers for new renewable energy generation and extended state tax credits for investments in renewable energy technologies to nonprofit entities such as churches.

The legislation next goes to the desk of Governor Mike Easley (D) for his signature.

Delaware: Doubles RES to 20% by 2019

Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner (D) on July 24 signed a bill that doubles the state’s renewable energy requirement from 10% to 20% by 2019, according to AWEA.

Under Senate Bill 19, the required level starts at 2% renewables in 2007, increasing every year by between 1% and 2% until it reaches 20% in 2019.

WindEnergyWeekly reports:

The bill also specifies a minimum percentage of solar power needed to meet the overall standard. The solar requirement starts at 0.03% of each utility’s electricity sales in 2009 and increases to 2% of sales by 2019. The requirement is structured to encourage the utilities to buy renewable energy credits (RECs) from Delaware homeowners and businesses that install solar power systems. A related bill, Senate Bill 8, specifies that utility customers retain ownership of the RECs associated with their net-metered renewable energy systems, so utilities must buy the RECs from the customers. It also allows utilities to stop offering net metering when the total customer-owned capacity equals 1% of the utility’s peak load.The governor also signed Senate Bill 35, which doubles the funding for the state’s Green Energy Fund. The fund helps to stimulate the local renewable energy sector by providing grants for renewable energy installations, technology demonstrations, and research and development projects.

Missouri: 11% by 2020 goal

Missouri Governor Matt Blunt signed legislation to increase the use of renewable energy from sources such as wind, hydroelectricity, solar power, hydrogen, and biomass on July 10th, reports.

Senate Bill 54 creates renewable energy targets for utilities of 4% by 2012, 8% by 2015 and 11% by 2020. Utilities are expected to make “good-faith” efforts to reach these targets and are expected to report on their progress to the state utility commission.

The bill directs the utility commission to give utilities multiple credits towards the goal for renewable energy generation within the state.

The legislation also requires the Office of Administration to ensure that at least 70% of the new vehicles purchased for the state fleet are flex fuel and allows municipal landfills to accept yard waste in order to create bioreactors to produce methane gas.

Additionally, SB 54 enacts net metering and interconnection standards allowing utility customers to install net-metered on-site renewable energy systems up to 100 kW in size.

“This legislation furthers my commitment to Missouri’s Green Power Initiative by increasing energy production in our state while practicing responsible environmental stewardship by increasing the use of renewable energy,” Gov. Blunt said.

2007 a big year for Renewable Energy Standards

North Carolina marks the 25th state in the nation to enact a renewable energy standard policy, meaning half of all states and well-over half of the United States population is covered by a state renewable energy standard.

In addition to the 25 states with RES policies, Vermont, Virginia and Missouri have non-binding renewable energy goals on the books (see map above).

New Hampshire, Oregon, Illinois and North Carolina all passed new RES policies in 2007, while Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota and Delaware all expanded existing RES policies, doubling them or more.

A bill that would have established a 10% by 2025 RES policy also passed the Indiana House of Representatives 77-20 in April, but the bill failed to pass the state Senate [as far as I can tell, anyway].

While stopping short of adopting a percentage target or goal, Arkansas also adopted legislative language this year that requires utilities to “consider clean energy and the use of renewable resources” as part of their resource plans. The legislation also gives the state PSC the option to allow cost recovery on clean energy if it is determined to be in the public interest. This language is similar to the language found in renewable energy goals adopted this year in Virginia and Missouri.

Finally, Congress may very well send a federal renewable energy standard to the President’s desk this year. The House of Representatives passed a 15% by 2020 federal RES policy along with a package of clean energy bills on Saturday, August 4th, the first time the House has ever passed an RES policy.

The fight for a federal RES is long from over though, as the RES must still survive conference committee with the Senate, who failed to pass an RES in their energy package, as well as a possible presidential veto of the energy bill the RES is attached to. More on all that soon…

6 Responses to “Illinois and North Carolina Pass Renewable Energy Standards – Half of All States Now Have RES Policies”

  1. 1 jcwinnie Aug 7th, 2007 at 2:16 am

    The action by North Carolina breaks the RPS lockout in the Southeast and weakens efforts against a Federal Renewable Portfolio Standard.

  2. 2 Calvin Jones Aug 7th, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Hi Jesse

    You have one of the most interesting climate change blogs on the web so when I
    was nominated for the ‘Blogging for Positive Global Change’ award and asked to
    nominate five blogs this was one of those nominated by me.

    My post with a link to your blog is here:

    The original post where this all got started is here:

    Best wishes,

    Climate Change Action

  3. 3 lizveazey Aug 8th, 2007 at 4:13 am

    nice post Jesse. I’m from NC and am happy to see an RPS in the South, but am really upset that the bill included a provision for “construction work-in-progress” which allows utilities to recoup construction and design costs from ratepayers for dirty energy plants even if they’re not finished making it easier for them to build these plants :( as wall street is becoming less interested in financing them. This also divided the environmental community in NC with a couple groups lobbying for the REPS and most groups stepping back or lobbying against it. click here for more insight on this schism
    I’d like to believe that a solid RPS could have passed in NC without the “construction work-in-progress” provision for the utility companies. there was so much citizen support and if all of the many groups pushing this had united together around this, then I really think it could have passed.
    too often groups are ready to compromise to get “something rather than nothing” but I think this is a false reality and as soon as groups give-in the debate shifts away from the “pure” legislation and there is then a sense of “something rather than nothing”
    it happened 30 years ago when environmental groups compromised to get some strip mining legislation rather than nothing giving mining companies the ability to do mountaintop removal mining if there could be areas that could be designated “lands unsuitable for mining”; there are now more than 400 mountains devastated by MTR sites and less than 15 sites designated as “lands unsuitable for mining”
    we must learn from our history or we’re doomed to repeat it!
    maybe I’ll turn this into a better blog post, stay tuned.

  4. 4 jessejenkins Aug 8th, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Calvin, thanks for the nomination for the Blogging for Change award. Actually, It’s Getting Hot in Here isn’t my blog, it’s a group blog maintained by a hole cadre of talented, dedicated young climate activists from across North America and the world. The blog is dedicated to being a clearing house of information and news and a site for discussion and dialog amongst youth climate change activists. Thanks for the nomination and I’ll pass the word along to the site’s webmaster.

    My personal blog is WattHead – Energy News and Commentary.

    By the way, IGHIH readers, Calvin’s blog(s) are also excellent, and I’d encourage you to check them out: Climate Change Action

  1. 1 Burning Bio News » Blog Archive » Report on State Renewable Fuel Standard Legislation, IL and NC Trackback on Aug 9th, 2007 at 4:21 pm
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About Jesse

Jesse Jenkins is an energy and climate policy analyst, advocate, and blogger. Jesse is the Director of Energy and Climate Policy at the Breakthrough Institute in Oakland, California, where he works to develop and advance new energy solutions to power America's future, secure our energy freedom, and halt global warming. He joined Breakthrough in June 2008 and previously directed the Breakthrough Generation fellowship program for young clean energy leaders. Jesse worked previously as a Research and Policy Associate at the Renewable Northwest Project in Portland, OR, helping to advance the development of the Pacific Northwest's abundant renewable energy potential. A prolific author and blogger on clean energy issues, Jesse is the founder and chief editor of WattHead - Energy News and Commentary, a featured writer and advisory board member at the Energy Collective, and a frequent contributor at, Huffington Post, and

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