Last week we learned that Massachusetts met its solar standard a full four years ahead of schedule. Its goal was to install 250 megawatts of solar by 2017 but got that done in early 2013.
Now we learn that Hawaii will reach this year its 2015 goal of 15% of its electricity coming from renewable energy resources. Hawaii is deploying huge amounts of solar and significant wind, biomass, and geothermal.
In the case of Hawaii, the surge to renewable energy is saving its economy large dollars, as it had been getting 90% of its electricity from burning very expensive oil. Homeowners are paying more than 30 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity from the grid and solar on a roof slashes the power bill.
While Hawaii is a nearly unique case, California and Colorado are examples of two other states that have been able to meet ahead of schedule aggressive renewable energy targets. Why?
The costs of renewable energy--especially wind and solar--are falling sharply, and so it is taking less to build more renewable energy. Add public support and the diversity and site flexibility of renewable energy to its radically improving economics and you have a recipe for meeting ahead of schedule renewable energy standards. That's quite a different outcome from what many skeptics of renewable energy expected when these standards were first adopted about ten years ago.