NRRI

Clean Energy Policy Tracker

NRRI State Policies Tracker: Clean Energy and Climate Change Policies

Many states have adopted policies intended to meet commitments to achieve major progress towards greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and growth in the use of clean and renewable energy.

This map summarizes those state policies that have been formalized by legislative and executive branch actions to date. The table shown below the map lists each jurisdiction’s decisions that are summarized in the map.[1] 

[1] Readers are invited to notify NRRI of any changes to be included in the Map and Table. Please email or phone NRRI staff with any corrections or updates.

 

Sources for map: Climate commitments data from United States Climate Alliance, Inventory of Climate and Clean Energy Policies—Policies by State [Web page, reporting 2019 status of states]. District of Columbia data from: DC Department of Energy & Environment, Climate Action Planning [Web page], and Code of the District of Columbia, §34–1432 – Renewable energy portfolio standard. EE goals or standards from American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Energy Efficiency Resource Standards [Web page]. RPS/CEPS data from North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, Renewable Portfolio Standards and Clean Energy Standards.

Summary:

  • Thirteen jurisdictions have goals that include both: (1) at least 75% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and (2) at least 75% of electricity production from renewable or combined renewable and clean energy production, by not later than 2050. Those states are designated with green shading plus green squares or circles on the map.
  • States with renewable or clean energy portfolio standards but not greenhouse gas standards are indicated on the map with yellow shading. Four of those, indicated by blue squares, have the goal of achieving 100% renewable or combined renewable and clean electricity by 2050 or sooner.
  • Many of the state goals address not only electricity production and use, but also include transportation fuels and heating fuels.
  • Climate Watch, managed by the World Resources Institute, tracks up-to-date information about countries that have adopted net-zero emissions goals, by “law, policy, or high-level political pledge such as head of state commitment.” By April 2021, Climate Watch reports 59 countries, representing 54% of global GHG emissions, have communicated net-zero emissions goals. 
  • In addition, hundreds of cities and dozens of the world’s largest corporations, including fossil fuel companies and major U.S. utility companies, have made similar GHG and renewable energy commitments.

 

Jurisdiction1

GHG Policy2

RPS/CEPS Policy3

Comments & Recent Actions

Arkansas

 

EEPS only.

Under Arkansas Code § 23-4-422, public utilities (natural gas or electric) may propose and the Commission may approve economic development rates that meet certain conditions.

Arizona
(May 2021)

Under rules proposed May 26, utilities will have to reach carbon-free emissions from 2050 to 2070, with interim goals of 50% by 2032, 65% by 2040, 80% by 2050, and 95% by 2060.

15% by 2025

Commissioners voted 3-2 at its May 26 Open Meeting to advance an amended energy rules package that will move Arizona’s regulated utilities to 100% carbon-free energy by 2070. The vote comes after the energy rules failed at the Commission’s May 5 Open Meeting. As a result of substantive changes, the amended energy rules package will be sent back through the formal rulemaking process. All related documents can be found in the Corporation Commission’s online docket at https://edocket.azcc.gov. Enter docket number RU-00000A-18-0284.

California

Carbon neutral by 2045

100% for retail electricity sales, by 2045

 

Colorado

90% GHG emissions reductions by 2050

100% by 2040

 

Connecticut

80% below 2001 levels by 2050

100% by 2040

 

Delaware
(February 2021)

26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025

2021 legislation, SB 133, was enacted in February. The new law resets Delaware’s RPS in annual steps, from 21% in 2021 to 40% by 2035. The RPS includes a solar PV carve-out of 2.5% in 2021, increasing each year until reaching 10% by 2035. The RPS applies to each commission-regulated utility or municipal electric company. The Commission shall establish rules “for compliance year 2036 and each subsequent year.”   

 

District of Columbia
(June 2021)

The Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 requires 50% below 2006 levels by 2032, and carbon neutral by 2050.

The DC RPS calls for 80% by 2029 and 100% by 2032. A solar carve-out grows each year. By 2041 not less than 10% of the electricity consumed in the District must be provided by solar energy that is generated within the District.  

The DC Act includes specific provisions for building energy performance standards and transportation electrification.

Current action plans include Climate Ready DC and Clean Energy DC.

The DC Department of Energy and Environment is soliciting input from District residents to develop its plans for Carbon Free DC by 2050.

Hawaii
(April 2021)

Carbon neutral by 2045

100% by 2045

On April 29, in nearly-unanimous votes in both houses of the state legislature, Hawaii passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 44, “declaring a climate emergency and requesting statewide collaboration toward an immediate just transition and emergency mobilization effort to restore a safe climate.”

Illinois

Illinois, by Executive Directive 2019-06, joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, which marks a commitment consistent with the Paris Agreement. . 

Illinois’ RPS, most recently amended in 2016, calls for both electric utility companies and alternative retail electric suppliers (ARES) to meet a standard of 25% clean and renewable electricity supply, by 2025-26.

In August 2020, Governor Pritzker announced Eight Principles for a Clean and Renewable Illinois Economy. Among other things, the Principles call for putting Illinois “on a path toward 100% clean energy by 2050” and to “electrify and decarbonize” the state’s transportation sector.   

Maine

80% below 1990 levels by 2050

80% by 2030 (goal of 100% by 2050)

 

Maryland
(February 2021)

2016 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act requires 40% below 2006 levels by 2030.

50% by 2030

A 2021 report, the 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, calls for GHG reductions of “nearly 50% by 2030, and… net-zero economy wide… by 2045.”

Massachusetts
(March 2021)

Interim GHG emissions levels shall be adopted for each 5 years, 2025 through 2050. The 2050 limit will “achieve net-zero” and be reduced by   at least 85% below 1990 levels.

Sector-based GHG limits will cover electric power, transportation, building heating and cooling, industrial processes, and natural gas distribution and service.

Municipal lighting plants are also required to set GHG limits for all retail sales, achieving 50% non-carbon emitting energy by 2030, 75% by 2040, and net zero by 2050.

RPS of 35% by 2030 plus 1% per year thereafter; CEPS total 80% by 2050.

 

Massachusetts enacted “An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy.” Each 5-year GHG emissions limit “shall be accompanied by publication of a comprehensive, clear and specific roadmap plan to realize [the] limit.”  

 

Michigan
(April 2021)

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-10 calls for economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050

35% RPS+CEPS by 2025

On Earth Day 2021, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that “state-owned facilities would utilize 100% renewable energy by 2025.”

In an April 21, 2021, Order in Case No. U-20763, Michigan PSC determined that under the Michigan Environmental Protection Act (MEPA), parties can bring evidence about climate change to hearings about pipeline siting and construction.

A February 18, 2021 Commission Order in Cases Nos. U-20633 et al. directs utilities to file GHG reduction plans in future IRPs.

Minnesota (May 2021)

80% below 2005 levels by 2050

~30% by 2020 (for IOUs, differs by utility)

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, in Executive Directive 19-37, established a Climate Change Subcabinet and Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change.


In March 2019, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced their One Minnesota Path to Clean Energy policy proposals intended to achieve 100% clean energy in the state’s electricity sector by 2050.

The Minnesota House Climate Action Caucus (58 of 134 representatives) introduced its Minnesota Climate Action Plan in October 2020. That plan calls for “a 45% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 . . . [and] a carbon free future by 2050.” It also includes proposals for “supporting communities statewide with resources to adapt to climate change and build local resilience.”  

In the 2021 legislative session, two new Minnesota laws were passed, which require GHG emissions analysis. The Energy Conservation and Optimization (ECO) Act requires GHG analysis and net reductions in state GHG emissions for utility energy efficiency measures that include fuel-switching. An, and Act amending Minnesota agricultural law requires that cellulosic biomass sourcing plans include detailed explanations of how greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced.

Montana

Net-zero for average annual electric loads by 2035. Net-zero economy wide “over the long-term.”

 

 

Nevada

Net-zero or near-zero GHG emissions by 2050

50% by 2030 (target); 100% carbon-free by 2050 (goal)

 

New Jersey

80% below 2006 levels by 2050

50% by 2030 (target); 100% clean energy by 2050 (Governor’s goal)

 

New Mexico

45% below 2005 levels by 2030

80% clean energy by 2040 for IOUs and by 2050 for cooperatives

 

New York

Net-zero GHG emissions by 2050

70% renewable by 2030, zero-carbon by 2040

 

North Carolina

40% below 2005 levels by 2025

12.5% by 2021 for investor owned utilities

 

North Dakota
(June 2021)

 

10% by 2015

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has issued a call for North Dakota to be carbon neutral by the end of this decade. He included that goal in his statements to the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in May, and touted not “federal mandates or state regulations” but instead called for innovation. 

Governor Burgum continued and expanded on these themes in public reports of meetings in May and June with representatives of companies planning to build a clean hydrogen hub in North Dakota and with U.S. DOE Secretary Granholm and EPA Administrator Regan.

In the 2021 legislative session, North Dakota passed a series of bills with CCUS implications:

·     House Bill 1452 allocates $25 million to create a Clean Sustainable Energy Fund to support low-emission technology projects;

·     Senate Bill 2328 grants a tax credit of $0.75 per million BTUs of flared gas captured by an oil well flare mitigation system;

·     Senate Bill 2152 adds geologic storage of carbon dioxide to the sales and use tax exemption; and,

·     Senate Bill 2206 allows utilities to recover R&D costs for CCUS including “a reasonable rate of return on capital expenditures” and authorizes rate recovery plus reasonable financial incentive for PPAs for “a dispatchable on-demand generating unit, plant, or facility deemed to protect grid reliability.”

Ohio

 

8.5% by year-end 2026 for both IOUs and competitive suppliers

Ohio law describes the Commission’s responsibilities for both electric and natural gas services, including directives related to achieving environmental mandates. The state policy calls for utility regulations that, “facilitate” the state’s effectiveness or competitiveness “in the global economy.” PUCO hears Economic Development Project (EDP) cases for both electric and natural gas utilities.

Oregon
(March 2021)

45% below 1990 by 2035; 80% below 1990 by 2050

50% by 2040 for large utilities

The Oregon PUC is working to meet the directives in Governor Brown’s March 2020 Executive Order (EO) 20-04. See the PUC’s March 2021 Update. The EO required the PUC and many other state agencies to consider efforts to reduce GHG emissions and their effects on impacted communities. Among many directives, the PUC is focusing on: (1) Whether utility portfolios and customer programs that factor in GHG emissions and costs will reduce risks and costs to utility customers; and (2) Prioritizing proceedings and activities that advance decarbonizing the utility sector using the PUC’s broad statutory authority. View the full draft work plan at: https://www.oregon.gov/puc/utilities/Documents/EO20-04-PUC-WorkPlan.pdf

Pennsylvania
(June 2021)

80% below 2005 levels by 2050

18% by 2021

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA-DEP) has initiated a rulemaking process, which proposes the state joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The rulemaking is in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s Executive Directive 2019-07 (amended June 2020). The rules propose that Pennsylvania CO2 Allowance Requirements would begin January 1, 2022. The proposed rules include a set of RGGI equity principles, for guiding investments of revenues raised through allowance auctions. Learn more from the PA-DEP  RGGI Web Page.

Puerto Rico

50% within the next five years

100% by 2050

 

Rhode Island (April 2021)

Net-zero by 2050

38.5% by 2030; 100% by 2030 (goal)

2021 Act on Climate Law was signed April 10 and takes immediate effect. “The state will develop a plan to incrementally reduce climate emissions to net-zero by 2050. The plan will be updated every 5 years and will address areas such as environmental injustices, public health inequities and a fair employment transition as fossil-fuel jobs are replaced by green energy jobs.”

A report issued by the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) details pathways and policies for meeting 100% of R.I. electricity demand with renewables by 2030.

South Dakota

 

A voluntary electric utility objective, with no penalty or sanction for not meeting it, was set at 10% of retail sales for 2015, “obtained from renewable, recycled, and conserved energy sources.”

 

Vermont

80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050

55% tier one renewables by 2017; 75% by 2032

 

Virginia

 

100% carbon-free by 2050

 

Washington
(May 2021)

Washington law (RCW 70A.45.020, 2020) requires the state to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, then reduce by another 45% by 2030, 70% by 2040, and 95% and achieving “net zero” GHG emissions by 2050.

This goal is economy-wide, and includes the transportation sector. Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has several responsibilities for electric utility participation in electric vehicles..  

The state’s RPS is set at 15% of electric load by 2020 and thereafter. Washington policy (RCW 19.285.040) calls for qualifying electric utilities to “pursue all available conservation that is cost-effective, reliable, and feasible.” And, Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act of 2019 (RCW 19.405) sets goals to “eliminate coal-fired electricity, transition the state's electricity supply to one hundred percent carbon-neutral by 2030, and one hundred percent carbon-free by 2045.”

Washington law also defines and includes provisions for renewable natural gas and renewable hydrogen (RCW 54.04.190). Washington natural gas companies may propose, and the Commission may approve, retail renewable natural gas programs. (RCW 80.28l.385), and all natural gas companies must offer voluntary RNG tariffs (RCW 80.28.390).

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a climate change legislation package on May 17, 2021. The package includes “the Climate Commitment Act, environmental justice legislation, a clean fuels standard and bills related to reducing Washington’s single-use plastic waste and hydrofluorocarbon pollution.” SB1526, establishes a cap-and-invest program. A Seattle Times article explains, the new laws call for net-zero emissions, economy-wide, by 2050, and establishes emissions caps for the state’s 100 largest emitters, covering about 75% of total state GHG emissions. 

Washington’s Energy Independence Act (RCW 19.285, 2007 as amended) declares that “Increasing energy conservation and the use of appropriately sited renewable energy facilities… will promote energy independence… stabilize electricity prices for Washington residents, provide economic benefits for Washington counties and farmers, [and] create high-quality jobs in Washington… .”

Washington law also directs the Commission to establish a “social cost of carbon” and use it in regulatory impact analyses (RCW 80.29.405). Gas utilities must apply the social cost of carbon “including the effect of emissions occurring in the gathering, transmission, and distribution of natural gas to the end user,” when modeling conservation program benefits. (RCW 80.28.380 and RCW 80.28.395).

Wisconsin

Governor Tony Evers’  Executive Directive #38 of 2019 sets a goal for 100% zero-carbon by 2050 for all electricity consumed in Wisconsin, and directs the state’s new Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy to “fulfill[] the carbon reduction goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.”

RPS of 10% by 2015 has been achieved and continues. 

The Commission’s mission statement includes “environmentally responsible utility services and equitable access to telecommunications and broadband services.”

In his 2021-23 budget proposal, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers “recommends” the commission establish the social cost of carbon, update it biennially, and “consider the social cost of carbon when evaluating construction certifications.”

Notes:

1    Jurisdictions with recently updated listings are shown in bold ink. Dates listed in parentheses after jurisdiction names indicate when the most recent legislative or regulatory changes were made.   

2    Greenhouse Gas (GHG) goals expressed in percent usually reference reductions in emissions compared to a particular baseline year. See links and sources to check and verify the details.

3    Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and Clean Energy Portfolio Standard (CEPS) goals expressed in percent, unless otherwise specified, usually reference the percentage of annual electricity generation that shall be supplied using qualifying resources. See links and sources to check and verify the details.