By John Farrell Jun 28, 2017
As an increasing number of cities across the U.S. pledge their commitment to purchase 100% of their power from renewable sources in the coming decades, some researchers questioned the feasibility of such energy policies. One recent 100% study takes the position that it is impractical for the continental U.S. to commit to 100% water, wind, and solar (WWS) energy sources between 2050 and 2055.
This article started off a Twitter discussion about the study, and more broadly, about the possibility of a 100% WWS energy commitment becoming reality. The studies are focused solely on the technical and economic challenges of the commitment. My 10-part response notes that we have to be focused on the politics, since it’s in city councils and statehouses that decisions actually happen.
The map provides markers to show local activity and layers to highlight state policies. The markers include:
Local Community Renewable Energy Projects, mostly community solar and community wind
Community Groups that are helping take charge of their community’s energy future
100% Renewable commitments by cities, either for electricity for municipal use (small markers) or on behalf of the entire city (large markers).
Utility (Feed-in) Tariffs that allow small power producers a simplified path to selling energy from new, distributed renewable energy projects into the electric system.
The layers include:
The State Community Power (CP) Score, a value assigned each state based on its policies supporting local energy action.
Net Metering policies, including those that allow customers to aggregate their energy use across multiple buildings or generate energy off-site
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing that allows communities to set up repayment programs for energy efficiency and renewable energy through the property tax system
Community Choice Aggregation laws allowing cities to choose their energy suppliers on behalf of all residential and small commercial customers
State (Feed-In) Tariffs that allow small power producers a simplified path to selling energy from new, distributed renewable energy projects into the electric system.
Residential Energy Building Codes that allow cities to set higher standards than the state, or give cities the ultimate authority
State Renewable Portfolio Standard Carve-Outs for solar or distributed renewable energy that require utility companies to purchase renewable electricity specifically from small-scale sources