Monday, September 24, 2007

Do RES States See Any Benefits?

I recently worked for an energy policy organization in Minnesota, and my colleagues and I worked to get a renewable energy standard passed there. We touted the economic benefits it would bring, like the investment in clean technologies, strengthening rural economies, innovation, entrepreneurship, and the possibility of the state to become a clean energy exporter. All this, in addition to cutting global warming emissions, made a renewable energy standard a no-brainer, and it passed – after many years of debate – with flying colors this past February.

But has an RES really changed the landscape of Minnesota and the 24 other states with a similar policy? The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) looked into it and found that huge strides have been made in states that have implemented a renewable energy standard. In fact, all 25 states are reducing emissions, creating jobs, and fueling a clean energy economy.

Reaping the Rewards” found that in 2006, more than 66 percent of the nation’s renewable energy was expected to built in states with an RES. In 2007, that number jumped to 70 percent. Clearly, cleantech businesses and investment are going where the rules of the game are clear, the regulatory support is strong, and the state’s economy is open for business.

The global warming impacts are huge as well: RES states will cut emissions by a total of 8.4 million metric tons per year – that’s like taking more than 1.5 million cars off the road. About 1.2 billion gallons of water will be saved because of the decreased reliance on fossil fuels.

Texas has seen some of the greatest impacts of an RES. Besides adding 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy, Texas landowners receive about $9.5 million in royalty payments from wind farm operators.

Now that we can prove the positive, local effects of an RES, it’s time for a national renewable energy standard. The House took a step this year when it passed a measure calling for 15 percent renewable energy, but the Senate has to follow suit right away. A coherent national policy will help drive America to forefront of the burgeoning cleantech market at a time when the rest of the world is already clamoring to get there.


Mrs.Modify said...

Yes, I think that everyone would see, hear and smell the benefits of renewable energy standards.

Check out the video, "Who Killed the Electric Car" and see for yourself, as my family did, just what has been going on out West.

Here in the Mid-West we are more than ready to buy and drive hybrids, and all-electric cars. We want to make the power at home to do it. The technology is already here. All we have to do is support it.

My family has been making little changes from light bulbs to composting kitchen waste to driving a hybrid car and heating our home with renewable wood we grow on our own land.

We even are educating our children to make wise choices and vote with our $$ for the kind of products that are more environmentally friendly. We've gone so far as to make our "hobbies" mean something.
We bought a used Carter 25KW windgenerator and installed it ourselves with no "incentives" from anyone, public or private.
Our children are learning hands-on how power is made by the wind and loving it.

It's about time the whole country set standards (ie.laws)that would be complied with for the good of everyone, not just the big businesses or the politicians.

If we don't do it who will? Renewable Energy Reliance starts at home.

Maria Surma Manka said...

You hit the nail on the head, Mrs. Modify. And kudos to you for the work you're doing and especially for what you're teaching your children. Thank you.