Despite Flawed Federal Policies, States Show Willingness to Move Energy Policy in the Right Direction

Media Contacts

Arizona PIRG

In contrast to the misguided federal energy bill signed last week, over 20 states are leading the way toward true energy independence, having passed — or actively considering — important clean energy policies. To demonstrate the trend, the State PIRGs released two new reports documenting the progress at the state level on energy policy.

  • ACHIEVING A NEW ENERGY FUTURE: How States Can Lead America to a Clean, Sustainable Economy
    America ‘s economic security and environmental health are threatened by the U.S.’s continued over-reliance on fossil fuels and by the inefficient ways in which we use energy. “Achieving a New Energy Future” makes the case for the critical role of states in shifting America to a dynamic new energy future that taps renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power, and exploits America’s “strategic reserves” of energy efficiency.
  • MAKING SENSE OF AMERICA’S OIL NEEDS: A Sustainable, State-Based Response to Dwindling Oil Supplies
    As evidence mounts that higher oil prices are here to stay — and as Washington, D.C. fails to address the problem — state governments need to act to protect their citizens and economies. “Making Sense of America’s Oil Needs” suggests tools states can use to reduce their dependence on petroleum through improved energy efficiency and the design of communities and transportation networks that are less reliant on the automobile.

“Despite record breaking oil prices, our leaders in Washington are leading us away from an economically and environmentally sustainable future, so it is comforting to see that state officials have shown a desire to put better energy policies in place” said Rob Sargent, Senior Energy Policy Analyst for the National Association of State PIRGs.

Some evidence of recent progress on state energy policy includes:

  • Arizona: On August 11 th, the Arizona Corporation Commission, voted by a 4-1 margin to draft rules which if adopted would increase the state’s Environmental Portfolio Standard (EPS) from 1.1% renewable energy by 2007 to 5% by 2015 and 15% by 2025.
  • Texas: Just two weeks ago, Governor Perry signed a bill that doubles the state’s renewable energy production, giving Texas the second largest renewable energy program (in total megawatts) in the nation.
  • Illinois: The Illinois Commerce Commission voted unanimously in late July to adopt the Governor’s Sustainable Energy Plan, which includes a signifi cant investment renewable energy power beginning with 2% of the electricity mix in 2007 and ramping up to 8% by 2013, and deriving 75% of the renewable energy from wind power. 
  • California: Earlier this summer, the California Senate approved the Million Solar Roofs bill, SB 1. The bill has bi-partisan support in both chambers and with the governor, and the Assembly will hold two votes on the bill before the end of August. If passed, it would be the largest solar energy law in the country.

The reports have been released as the National Conference of State Legislatures meets in Seattle, WA for their annual conference to discuss a variety of policy issues of common concern for the states, including energy.

“These reports help make the case for the continued role of state policy makers to lead on policies that will reduce our growing over-dependence on oil and promote renewable energy and more efficient uses of our energy,” concluded Sargent.