Renewable energy comprised more than half the energy added this year to the Northeast grid, comprising part of Canada and 6 US states. 17 GW of renewable energy projects in the region will be completed in the next five years.
It is no coincidence that each of these states has a state renewable portfolio standard which requires utilities to add an increasing percent of renewable power to the grid each year. New York’s RPS requires 24% by 2013, Maine:40% by 2017(met), Vermont:20% by 2017, New Hampshire:16% by 2025, Rhode Island:16% by 2019, and Connecticut:27% by 2020 )
The Renewable Portfolio Standard is a sure way to get more homegrown climate-friendly renewable power on the grid and is up for votes yet again this year (in the American Clean Jobs & American Power Act) after multiple previous attempts to pass it.
Democrats have attempted to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard multiple times, for example here and again. Each time Republicans have defeated it by calling coal renewable, or filibustered it to prevent passage. (Renewable energy is defined as energy that is from a resource that is renewable and that has low carbon dioxide emissions, a greenhouse gas.)
It is included again in the current renewable energy bill in the Senate now (CEJAPA) and is the closest it has been to having the critical mass needed to pass it.
Maine has a RPS and has more renewable energy on the grid than any state in the nation; 55%. Collins and Snowe of Maine are two of the four Republicans who have reliably sided with Democrats on renewable energy. However the other two were both voted out last year; Smith of Oregan and Coleman of Minnesota.
Even when states don’t meet them, having an RPS requirement has been proven to get more power on the grid than not having one.
Image: Flikr user Katerina