Though attacks on renewable energy from the right in Congress are loud and frequent, renewable energy industries are finding love in state legislatures. Just during the last 2 months, three states enacted important legislation that will trigger billions of dollars of investment in new renewable energy generation.
First New Jersey enacted a solar bill that will add about 3,000 megawatts of solar power in the next 4 years. That bill alone will cause about $10 billion or more of investment. A big deal, indeed! See:
Then Massachusetts boosted renewable energy investments by doubling its cap on net metering capacity and boosting the use by its utilities of long-term contracts to finance new renewable projects. See johnhanger.blogspot.com/2012/08/massachusetts-doubles-net-metering-cap.html. Both changes will trigger substantial new renewable energy investments.
Last week New York jumped on the 2012 state renewable energy bandwagon by passing a package of 3 bills to boost solar. http://www.seia.org/news/seia-statement-new-york-governor-cuomo-signs-legislation-promote-solar-energy. The bills include state tax credits for solar installations and exemptions from state sales taxes for the sale of solar equipment. New York currently has 7,500 solar projects and 121 megawatts of solar capacity, according to SEIA.
The 2012 legislative actions of New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts will cumulatively add thousands of megawatts of renewable generation capacity in the short term. These pro-renewable energy state laws follow California's 2011 big increase to 33% for its renewable electricity requirement. This surge of favorable legislation proves that reports of renewable energy's political demise are wrong, the product of wishful thinking by opponents of renewables.
Also proving wrong is the assertion by those attacking fracking that low-priced natural gas would sap political support for renewable energy. In fact, Governor Brown of California states that low-priced gas has the opposite effect. He argues cheap gas, by keeping electricity bills affordable, creates more political space to accelerate deployment of renewable energy in California!
Senator Reid boldly predicted a few weeks ago that the federal production tax credit for wind will be renewed either before or after the election. Given the gains already made in state legislatures, if time proves Reid right, renewable energy will have had an excellent 2012 legislative year.