Wind turbines on the Kumeyaay Indian reservation in southern California.
Nearly three-fifths of the states have established renewable energy standards. That rises to three-fourths when renewable energy
are included. The standards mandate how much electricity utility companies, including municipally owned utilities, must generate by a certain date from solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, biomass and other renewable sources. And the folks at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), who are celebrating their 40th birthday at the group's annual convention in Chicago this week, worked in their usual behind-the-scenes way in the past seven months to dump those standards.
They failed. Not just once. But in every state where they attacked.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have mandated standards. These vary widely. Minnesota has mandated 25 percent from renewables by 2025. California has set its standards at 33 percent by 2020. Eight other states have set voluntary goals. Over the past four years, these standards have helped double the amount of electricity generated from renewables. And, taken altogether, they could, in theory, result in 75 gigawatts of new renewably sourced generating power by 2025, enough to supply about 16 percent of our nation's residential electricity in addition to the 5 percent already being supplied. Not enough, to be sure, but a tremendous increase in a short time if the targets are met.
The folks at ALEC, funded by the brothers Koch and Exxon Mobil, among others, made it a priority at their annual convention in Salt Lake City last year to go after the renewable energy standards, according to Matt Kasper at Think Progress.
ALEC's Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force—heavily influenced by the fossil fuel industry and whose public sector chairman is veteran Republican Rep. David Wolkins of Indiana—adopted the Electricity Freedom Act. a model bill designed to repeal or weaken state renewable energy standards. ALEC partnered with the Heartland Institute, the climate change-denying libertarian think tank that ran a billboard campaign linking climate activists to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Charles Manson and Fidel Castro. They also brought the right-wing John Locke Foundation, Grover Norquist, the American Conservative Union and Americans for Tax Reform aboard for the fight. They were involved in 13 states.
And they lost big time. Not a single state in the ALEC crosshairs repealed its standards. Indeed, Minnesota raised its mandate.
Find out more details below the fold.
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