State Leadership for Clean Energy Development Has Become Increasingly Important Since 2015

Report Details Key Efforts by States Across the Country

Returning Champions: State Clean Energy Leadership Since 2015, a new report from the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), highlights the essential role that states are playing to develop and implement effective policies and programs. The report describes the range of strategies and initiatives that states are using to grow clean energy markets, and it provides readers with a concise overview of clean energy trends at the state level.


The report's four thematic chapters emphasize the most important issues that the states have been focusing on over the past few years:

• Setting more aggressive goals for renewable energy electricity generation, for carbon-free energy, and for energy storage.

• Supporting markets for emerging technologies, including offshore wind, electric vehicles, air source heat pumps, battery storage, microgrids, hydropower from irrigation systems, and advanced biomass and biogas systems.

• Modernizing the electricity grid to incorporate variable sources of electricity generation, distributed generation, and electric vehicles efficiently and cost-effectively, as well as efforts to replace fossil fuels for heating.

• Focusing on fairness and equity for clean energy to ensure that low- and moderate-income households can access the benefits of clean energy and to put appropriate consumer protection measures in place.

The report also includes 21 case studies covering 19 states. The case studies illustrate some of the diverse ways that states have supported community solar, low-income solar access, bioenergy, renewable heating and cooling technologies, energy storage, offshore wind, and renewable thermal.

Returning Champions continues the narrative that began with the 2015 report, Clean Energy Champions: The Importance of State Policy and Programs. The new report focuses on how states have responded to a changing policy landscape, with the federal government becoming less aggressive in promoting clean energy, and how they have tackled the challenges of higher clean energy adoption as the electricity system evolves and market penetration increases for solar, wind, and energy storage technologies.

As CESA Executive Director Warren Leon, the report's lead author, points out, "The United States is experiencing a transition to clean energy in great part because states have been able to propel clean energy policy implementation, and because governors, legislators, and state agency staff have provided leadership, innovation, and funding to support the transformation of the energy sector to cleaner and more reliable technologies." He added, "It is important to recognize the achievements of state clean energy programs so that public support for these initiatives continues, and additional progress is made."

The report is available on CESA's website at https://www.cesa.org/resource-library/resource/returning-champions-state-clean-energy-leadership-since-2015.

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About CESA: The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) is a national nonprofit coalition of public agencies and organizations working together to advance clean energy. CESA members—mostly state agencies—include many of the most innovative, successful, and influential public funders of clean energy initiatives in the country. CESA works closely with states as they develop clean energy policies, programs, and finance tools. CESA facilitates information sharing, provides technical assistance, coordinates multi-state collaborative projects, and communicates the positions and achievements of its members. Additionally, CESA develops reports, webinars, and other informational resources on topics of interest to policy makers, clean energy stakeholders, industry, and academics. For more information, visit www.cesa.org.

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