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New Stanford Report Features U.S. States Pioneering Effective Renewable Energy and Energy-Efficiency Policies

published: 2014-09-15 16:55

With growing gridlock in Washington, states throughout the country – both red and blue – are implementing innovative renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs which could be adopted by their neighbors to improve their economies and reduce emissions cost-effectively, according to a new joint study by Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance and Hoover Institution’s Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy. These policies could be particularly valuable as states develop plans to meet pending U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations to cut power plant carbon emissions.

The new study, The State Clean Energy Cookbook: A Dozen Recipes for State Action on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, was led by former U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman and former Secretary of State and Treasury George Shultz. The report analyzes and makes specific recommendations regarding 12 policies that states are using today to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy. It also analyzes the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) State Energy Program, which assists all 50 states.

The authors reach “an encouraging conclusion” in the report, noting, “Both red states and blue states are turning green – whether measured in dollar savings or environmental improvement.”

The policies and states featured are:

  • Energy-Efficiency Resource Standards – Wisconsin
  • Energy-Efficient Building Codes – Mississippi
  • Building Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure – California, Washington
  • Utility and Customer Market Incentives – Arizona, Washington,
  • Renewable Portfolio Standards – North Carolina, Minnesota
  • Net Energy Metering – Texas, Vermont
  • Community Renewables – Colorado, California, Minnesota
  • Renewable Energy Tariffs – North Carolina, Virginia
  • Energy Savings Performance Contracts – Pennsylvania
  • Third-Party Ownership of Distributed Power Systems – New Mexico
  • Property-Assessed Clean Energy – Connecticut
  • On-Bill Repayment – Hawaii, New York
  • U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program – Nebraska, Massachusetts

"We are impressed by the breadth of experience that states around the country already have in encouraging energy efficiency and renewable energy in ways that save money, reduce pollution and strengthen their energy security," said Shultz, who co-chairs the Hoover Institution’s Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy. “The goal of the study is to provide a source for states to compare and contrast innovative policies, so that they can learn from each other.”

“States truly are the ‘laboratories of democracy’ when it comes to renewable energy and energy efficiency, adopting groundbreaking programs and policies that could provide benefits around the country,” said Bingaman, former chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who co-authored the study on behalf of Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Prior to serving in the Senate, Bingaman was New Mexico Attorney General.

“Most of the policies we discuss in the report have met several tests,” said Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center and one of the report authors. “They are already on the books; they are in operation in both blue and red states; they enjoy good support; and, implemented well, they can be cost-effective.” Reicher was assistant secretary of energy in the Clinton administration, a member of President Obama’s Transition Team and an executive at Google.

Each policy “recipe” in the report includes:

  • A detailed policy description
  • Recommendation for implementation
  • Current state examples
  • Discussion of policy benefits
  • Specific policy design considerations
  • Additional policy resources

Other authors of the report are Jeremy Carl, Hoover Institution research fellow; Alicia Seiger, Steyer-Taylor Center deputy director; David Fedor, Hoover Institution Shultz-Stephenson Energy Task Force research analyst; Nicole Schuetz, Steyer-Taylor Center project manager; and Ernestine Fu, Stanford University Ph.D. student.

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