The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national nonprofit coalition of public agencies working together to advance clean energy, has released a new report profiling the six winners of the 2018 State Leadership in Clean Energy Awards. Since 2009, the biennial Leadership Awards have recognized outstanding state programs and projects that have accelerated the adoption of clean energy technologies and strengthened clean energy markets.
“These award winners exemplify the tremendous progress that states are making in advancing clean energy,” said CESA Executive Director Warren Leon. “The six winners vary in technology, approach, and location, but they all reflect significant innovation and strong implementation. They will serve as outstanding models that can be replicated by other states, municipalities, and utilities.”
The 2018 Awards were presented to the following organizations and programs:
Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources for the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm. North America’s first offshore wind farm was installed of the coast of Rhode Island and connected Block Island to the mainland electrical grid for the first time. This project represents a significant clean energy accomplishment for Rhode Island and the nation, and it is helping to spur an entirely new industry and job creator for the economy.
According to the judges: “The Block Island Offshore Wind Farm is a monumental achievement and a milestone for renewable energy in the United States.”
Oregon Department of Energy for the Renewable Energy Development Grant Program. Since 2012, this competitive grant program has awarded nearly $5 million for 55 renewable projects statewide, including solar, hydropower, biogas, biomass, and geothermal installations. The grant program is funded through a first-of-its kind finance mechanism, an independently administered auction of state tax credits.
According to the judges: “The Oregon Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Development Grant Program has an innovative funding structure that makes efficient and productive use of tax dollars.”
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for the Clean Energy Communities Program. This program gives local governments an opportunity to earn recognition and grant funding by demonstrating their clean-energy leadership. Since the program launched, over 400 communities across the state have completed more than 1,100 high-impact actions. These communities include more than 16 million New Yorkers, more than 80% of the state’s population.
According to the judges: “This is a high-impact program, demonstrating results in a short period of time, and pushing new solutions as well as existing ones.”
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources for the Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) Program. This program was created to jump-start the energy storage industry in Massachusetts by piloting innovative, broadly replicable, energy storage demonstration projects with multiple value streams, thereby priming Massachusetts for increased commercialization and deployment.
According to the judges: “By demonstrating effective energy storage use cases and business models, the ACES program will have impacts far beyond Massachusetts.”
Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund for the MPRB Solar Demonstration Project. Through a partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), the Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund supported the installation of 200 kW of solar PV in the Minneapolis parks system to model the seamless incorporation of renewable energy into public amenities.
According to the judges: “This partnership has resulted in the deployment of public-facing solar installations that reach not only a large number of people, but also very diverse populations. This means that people who may not otherwise be exposed to solar have the opportunity to experience it up-close.”
Connecticut Green Bank for its “Solar for All” Partnership. The Connecticut “Solar for All” program is a ground-breaking public-private partnership between the Connecticut Green Bank and PosiGen Solar Solutions. “Solar for All” offers a targeted solar lease paired with energy efficiency measures for low- to moderate-income (LMI) homeowners, regardless of income or traditional measures of creditworthiness. “Solar for All” is an exemplary model for bringing LMI finance solutions to scale and achieving inclusive participation in the clean energy economy.
According to the judges: “The public-private partnership structure has allowed the Connecticut Green Bank to use limited public dollars to attract sevenfold private investment, maximizing the program’s impact.”
CESA-member organizations from across the U.S. submitted nominations for the awards. The six winning programs and projects were chosen by an independent panel of five distinguished judges. Entries were judged based on public benefits and results, cost effectiveness, leadership and innovation, and replicability.
CESA would like to acknowledge the judges who generously donated their time: Elizabeth Doris (National Renewable Energy Laboratory); Sara Fisher-Goad (former Executive Director of the Alaska Energy Authority); John Geesman (former Commissioner at the California Energy Commission); Rebecca O’Neil (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory); and Devrashree Saha (Council of State Governments).
“As the Clean Energy States Alliance celebrates its 15th anniversary, it is wonderful to look back and see the results that state programs have produced to create clean energy markets,” said CESA’s Manager of Program Administration Maria Blais Costello. “The 2018 State Leadership in Clean Energy Award-winners represent the best of the best. These six programs, and past winners of these awards, exemplify how state-led efforts and leadership have driven renewable energy growth in the U.S. It’s a tremendous honor to work with these leaders and innovators who are transforming our energy system.”