In the wake of Environment California’s successful campaign to commit the Golden State to 100% clean electricity generation by 2045, Environment America is launching a multi-year campaign to convince governors and legislators in other states to set similar goals to transition to clean energy. Environment America, a national network of state environmental groups, announced it will push bills promoting 100% clean energy in at least nine states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Washington.
“We face enormous environmental challenges. We need solutions that match the scale of those challenges,” said Rob Sargent, Environment America’s clean energy program director. “This country has the capacity to power itself more than 100 times over with solar energy alone. We need to take that potential and turn it into reality by getting on the path toward a future of renewable energy. This campaign is designed to do just that, state by state.”
Environment America’s “100% Renewable” campaign aspires to get 10 states to set ambitious renewable energy targets within five years. Both Hawaii and California now have laws requiring 100% clean electricity by 2045.
The renewable revolution isn’t only happening at the state level. Growing awareness of the environmental impacts of our energy use, coupled with rapid advances in technology and declining costs, has made renewable energy the “go-to” option for many communities and businesses. One hundred U.S. cities, led by a mix of Republican and Democratic mayors, have committed to transition their power sources to 100% renewable energy. In addition, 131 major companies, including Bank of America, Walmart and Anheuser-Busch, have pledged to power their entire operations with renewable energy.
“Renewable energy technologies are gaining momentum because they’re pollution-free — which means they’re healthier for both us and the earth,” said Sargent. “It should be a no-brainer for other states to follow Hawaii and California’s lead. But we have to convince states to act as soon as possible.”
Environment Massachusetts is supporting “An Act transitioning Massachusetts to 100% renewable energy.” The bill sets goals for 100% clean electricity by 2035 and 100% clean energy throughout the state’s economy by 2045.
Environment New Jersey, is working to formalize 100% renewable energy by 2050 as a part of the state’s Energy Master Plan.
PennEnvironment will help advance reintroduced legislation in the House and Senate this session to transition the state to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Republican State Sen. Thomas Killion is the lead sponsor on the Senate version.
Environment North Carolina is supporting a resolution sponsored by State Rep. Pricey Harrison that calls for 100% renewable energy by 2050. This effort was also introduced during the legislature’s last full session.
Environment Michigan is working with State Rep. Yousef Rabhi, who plans to reintroduce H.B.6466 from last session, which would set a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Illinois PIRG and sister group Environment Illinois are members of a statewide coalition that will introduce 100% renewable electricity legislation as part of a broad collection of clean energy and carbon emission-reduction policies. The newly sworn-in Gov. J.B. Pritzker committed to 100% renewable electricity during his campaign.
Environment Minnesota is advocating for a bill that will require 100% renewable energy by 2030 in Minnesota and a statewide moratorium on oil and gas pipelines, gas plants, and any other new fossil fuel infrastructure.
Environment New Mexico is leading a diverse statewide coalition in support of 50% renewable electricity by 2030 and 80% by 2040. Both goals are touted by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. This is seen as a first step in getting New Mexico onto the path to 100% renewable energy.
Environment Washington is pushing a bill that would eliminate coal on the grid by 2025, require all utilities to have a resource mix that is 80% clean by 2030, and ensure all electricity in Washington state is carbon-free. Gov. Jay Inslee requested the bill, and its prime sponsors are State Sen. Reuven Carlyle in the Senate and State Rep. Gael Tarleton in the House.