States in U.S. Reach Renewable Energy Milestone

Recent increases in the amount of renewable electricity required under existing standards in Colorado, Minnesota and New Mexico put the states over the 100-million metric tons (MMT) milestone.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) projects that 21 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted renewable electricity standards are on track to reduce their global warming emissions by 108 MMT of carbon dioxide by 2020. By 2020, the UCS projects the state standards will produce more than 46,000 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable power, enough to meet the needs of 28.5 million typical homes. State renewable electricity standards are expanding, with at least 10 more states considering adopting a requirement or raising existing targets. One recent example: On Monday, Maryland passed legislation expanding its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) with a “solar carve out” that will require approximately 1,500 megawatts (MW) of the state’s electricity supply to come from solar by 2022. The success of state renewable energy standards is helping build momentum for a federal standard of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. The federal standard would increase renewable energy output nearly four times over current state standards. To help track and compare state standards, UCS has developed a new, one-stop resource, the Renewable Electricity Standards Toolkit, which includes summaries of all 22 standards, as well as maps illustrating existing standards and projections for future renewable energy development. It offers a database with detailed information about state standards, ranging from how renewable energy technologies are defined to how standards are enforced.

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