Set aggressive target(s)

A renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requires utility companies to source a certain amount of the energy they generate or sell from renewable sources such as wind and solar

An RPS establishes incremental targets that increase over time and the RPS for each state varies. Over half of all U.S. states have some type of RPS or goal in place.[1]

Policy recommendations

Advocates should set aggressive, mandated 100% targets, interim targets, and timelines, and similarly aggressive goals for eliminating direct fossil fuel use in buildings and in road and most non-road transportation. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems. The report indicates a target of net zero CO2 emissions by 2045 for wealthy countries, including all sectors.[2] Setting combined targets for these areas indicates a 100% regenerative electricity target in the 2035 to 2045 period, depending on the specific parallel targets for buildings and transportation.

Examples

Example of an ambitious state target is California’s Senate Bill 100: Goal is to achieve a 50% renewable resources target by December 31, 2026 and to achieve a 60% target by December 31, 2030. In addition, SB 100 sets a 100% clean, zero carbon, and renewable energy policy for California’s electricity system by 2045.

Hawaii’s House Bill 623: directs the state utilities to generate 100% of their electricity sales from renewable energy by 2045.

Hawaii and California both are pioneers in setting 100% renewable energy policies. These are important examples of ambition for most other states, which are much farther behind. Yet, the dire climate crisis and the IPCC report indicate that even these two states may need to be strengthened.

References

  1. Renewable Energy Standard.” Solar Energy Industries Association. Accessed 4 Sep. 2019.
  2. Special Report, Global Warming of 1.5°C.” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 15 May 2018. Accessed 18 Jul. 2019.