Green New Deal arrives in state legislatures

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By Ben Inskeep, EQ Research

The Green New Deal is the hottest topic in energy so far in 2019. Just a few years ago, a 100% clean or renewable electricity target would have been seen as a quixotic and impossibly stringent target in all but the most ambitious jurisdictions. Buoyed by national attention brought to this topic through the federal Resolution supported by the Sunrise Movement and introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey in February, as well as efforts such as Sierra Club’s ongoing Ready for 100 initiative at the local level, states have seen a dramatic uptick this year in legislation and executive proposals pushing for 100% clean or renewable energy.

As shown in the map above, Hawaii, California and the District of Columbia are the only three jurisdictions to enact such a policy to date. The notes by each state identify the target year for reaching a 100% standard under the standard or study period proposed, and whether it applies to clean energy (e.g., including carbon-free sources like nuclear) or renewables only. In the 2019 legislative sessions, 10 states have already introduced legislation to follow suit, and four more have legislation that study 100% clean or renewable energy targets. EQ Research anticipates that at least four more states – Colorado1, Michigan2, Pennsylvania3, and Maine4 – are likely to introduce Green New Deal-style electricity targets soon. In addition, a growing chorus of governors have thrown their support behind the concept; the map above highlights Wisconsin as a state with official gubernatorial support in its budget, but without introduced legislation, with governors in many more states with legislation supporting the concept as well. Finally, several states not included in this map, such as Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona, have pending legislative or regulatory proposals that would significantly expand existing RPS policies, but not to the 100% level, and North Carolina is expected to introduce a resolution on, but not necessarily legislation requiring, 100% renewables by 2050.5

EQ Research comprehensively tracks renewable energy bills from all 50 states as part of its Policy Vista legislative tracking subscription service. EQ Research also offers a RPS Navigator service, which provides detailed information and monthly updates on RPS policies, tailored for retail electric supplier clients.


  1. For example, SB 18-064, introduced in 2018, would require 100% renewables by 2035. See also, Mark Jaffe, “Colorado Power Companies Bet Big on Net-Zero Emissions as State Debates 100% Renewable Energy Future,” The Colorado Sun, Jan. 22, 2019, available at https://coloradosun.com/2019/01/22/colorado-power-companies-net-zero-emissions-vs-100-percent-renewable/.
  2. Environment America, “Nine States Campaign for 100 Percent Clean Energy,” https://environmentamerica.org/news/ame/nine-states-campaign-100-percent-clean-energy
  3. Ibid.
  4. Tux Turkel, “Clean-Energy Agenda Sees Power Surge in Augusta,” Portland Press Herald, Jan. 20, 2019, available at: https://www.pressherald.com/2019/01/20/clean-energy-agenda-sees-power-surge-in-augusta/
  5. Environment America, “Nine States Campaign for 100 Percent Clean Energy,” Jan. 24, 2019, https://environmentamerica.org/news/ame/nine-states-campaign-100-percent-clean-energy

 

This post was originally published on the EQ Research blog, and has been reprinted with permission.