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Four States Increase Renewable Portfolio Standards
Kansas and West Virginia have become the latest states to adopt mandatory requirements for renewable energy use, while two other states have made their renewable portfolio standards more rigorous, according to the Department of Energy.
The Kansas legislation requires state utilities to draw on renewable energy to meet 10 percent of their peak demand by 2011, 15 percent by 2019, and 20 percent by 2020. The renewable energy sources can include wind power, solar energy, existing hydropower, new small hydropower, various forms of biomass energy, and fuel cells that use hydrogen produced from a renewable energy resource.
The legislation also requires energy efficiency standards for buildings owned and leased by the state and sets fuel economy standards for state-owned motor vehicles.
West Virginia, a coal state, uses a new credit-based system that allows for both renewable energy and mostly coal-based "alternative energy resources" to meet its new standard. The state requires its electric utilities to hold credits for at least 10 percent of their retail sales by 2015, increasing to 15 percent by 2020 and 25 percent by 2025.
Renewable energy facilities normally earn double credits, but they earn triple credits if the facilities are located on reclaimed surface mines.
Maine and Nevada, which already have renewable portfolio standards, have upped the ante. Maine has passed legislation that provides a 50 percent extra credit toward its renewable energy standard for community-based renewable energy projects.
Nevada has extended its renewable energy standard, which previously topped out at 20 percent for 2015 and after. Under the new legislation, the standard increases to 22 percent by 2020 and to 25 percent by 2025.