Tuesday, June 28, 2016

State Policies Drive Utilities to Invest in Clean Energy Boom

Xcel Energy Ranking (Credit: ceres.org) Click to Enlarge.
Midwest utilities are embracing renewable energy and energy efficiency and supportive state policy is a major driver of this trend.

A new Ceres report ranking 30 of the nation’s largest electric utilities shows that the top performing utilities on renewable energy sales and energy efficiency savings are typically based in states and regions with more ambitious clean energy policies.

While most of the top scorers are on the coasts, Midwest utilities are catching up, thanks to some important state policy trends.  For example, Xcel Energy saw a 15 percent jump in renewable energy sales from 2012 to 2014.  Strong renewable portfolio standards in Minnesota and Colorado, where Xcel Energy has a significant presence, were key catalysts for the jump in green energy, which now accounts for 21 percent of its overall sales.  Both states are pushing to get 30 percent or more of their energy from renewables.  Federal tax credits and innovation in the industry are also helping increase utility clean energy deployment by driving down the prices of renewables.  Now, wind, solar, and energy efficiency are some of the cheapest forms of energy throughout the Midwest.
No doubt, clean energy is here to stay.  Utilities shifting towards clean energy will be best positioned to cope with federal policies pushing the power sector to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.   As states begin to implement the EPA’s Clean Power Plan—aimed at reducing power sector carbon pollution by a third—states with existing clean energy policies will have an easier time complying with the new rules, since they already have clean energy included in their long range planning.

Read more at State Policies Drive Utilities to Invest in Clean Energy Boom

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