A number of states have adopted policies requiring or encouraging electricity suppliers to offer green power options to consumers. This section provides summaries of these policies and links to the full text of the legislation or public utility commission rules.
June 2003On June 26, Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland signed a bill (SB 733) amending the state's Electric Restructuring Act and granting authority to the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) to require electric distribution companies to offer green power options. The legislation enables the DPUC to determine the terms and conditions of renewable energy or energy efficiency options, including the contract terms and the minimum percentage of electricity to be derived from renewable energy sources. The green energy options will be developed and implemented by third-party companies selected through a competitive bidding process.
The bill closes the loophole that exempted standard offer service providers, which serve approximately 98% of the state's customers, from the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS)the RPS requires 10% of all retail electricity sales to come from renewable sources by 2010. The bill also extends the state's system benefits charge of 4 mills/kWh, which generates revenues of approximately $109 million annually for the Energy Conservation and Clean Energy Fund.
Additional Information - Text of SB 733
Environment Northeast Contact: Dan Sosland (860)246-7121
Governor's Office: (860) 566-4840
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June 2001Iowa Governor Thomas Vilsack signed into law a bill (HF 577) requiring all electric utilities operating in the state, including those not regulated by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), to offer green power options to their customers, beginning January 1, 2004. Utilities can offer programs that allow customers to make contributions to support the development of alternate (renewable) energy sources in Iowa or tariff-based programs that are tied to a customer's actual electricity use. Rate-regulated utilities must file program plans and tariff schedules with the IUB.
Full Text of Bill - House File 577
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November 2009Governor Baldacci of Maine signed into law a bill requiring the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop a default green power option for all residential and small commercial electricity consumers. The PUC is directed to include community-based renewable energy to the maximum extent possible. Community-based energy includes generation facilities that are at least 51% owned by an individual, a political subdivision, a State entity, a federally recognized Indian tribe located in Maine, a nonprofit corporation, or a business corporation which has at least 51% ownership by one or more residents of Maine. The PUC is charged with adopting rules to implement the requirement.
Additional Information - An Act To Establish the Community-based Renewable Energy Pilot Program
May 2007The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has launched a web-based initiative designed to provide electricity consumers with basic information on energy efficiency and clean energy. Through the 10,000 Carbon Free Homes project, Mainers can calculate the carbon emissions released into the air from their home's energy use, find out what to do to reduce energy use through efficiency, and sign up for either renewable electricity or to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) in order to offset their carbon emissions. By April 22, 2008 (Earth Day), the PUC hopes to have 10,000 homes enrolled in the project, which would represent about 2% of total state households.
News Release - 10,000 Carbon Free Homes Project Launched
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January 2010—The provision requiring utilities to offer a green power option was repealed as part of legislation that established a mandatory renewable portfolio standard for public utilities, cooperative associations, municipal power agencies, and power districts operating in Minnesota.
Full Text of Statute - 216B.169 Renewable and High-Efficiency Energy Rate Options
Modified Text of Bill - CHAPTER 110--S.F.No. 550
June 2001On May 29, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura signed into law a bill (SB 722) requiring the state's electric utilities to offer customers voluntary options to purchase power generated from renewable sources or "high-efficiency, low-emission distributed generation, such as fuel cells or microturbines fueled by a renewable fuel." Rates charged for the offerings must be based on the difference between the cost of the renewable energy and the same amount of nonrenewable energy. Utilities may generate the renewable energy directly or purchase credits from a renewable energy provider certified by the Public Utilities Commission.
The law also sets a non-binding goal for utilities to obtain at least 10% of the energy supplied to retail customers from renewable sources by 2015.
Full Text of Bill - Senate File 722
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June 2003On May 5, Montana Governor Judy Martz signed into law a bill (HB 509) requiring the state's default electricity service providers (currently only Northwestern Energy) to offer green power options to their retail customers. An earlier requirement was part of an electricity law repealed by voters last year.
The green power products must be supplied from "certified environmentally preferred resources," such as wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. The Montana Public Service Commission is tasked with approving the product offering(s) and ensuring that the resources have been certified as "meeting industry-accepted standards."
The bill also extends the state's Universal System Benefits Charge through December 31, 2005. The charge generates about $13 million a year statewide to support energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low-income programs.
News Article - Montana's Public-Purposes Funding Extended through 2005
Additional Information - Text of HB 509
July 2001Montana Governor Judy Martz signed into law an omnibus energy bill (HB 474), which includes a requirement that regulated electric utilities offer their customers an opportunity to purchase "a separately marketed product composed of power from renewable resources," defined as biomass, wind, solar, or geothermal resources. The product may be priced differently from the standard electricity product. The law also extends the state's universal system benefits program funding through 2005.
Full Text of Bill - House Bill 474
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May 2003New Jersey Governor James McGreevey has directed the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to implement a set of task force recommendations aimed at promoting the use and development of renewable energy in the state. Among the recommendations is to establish a statewide program that would allow retail electric customers to select an alternative green power supplier via a sign-up option on utility bills.
Other task force recommendations include increasing the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 4% in 2008 and establishing a new long-term RPS of 20% for 2020, and providing a check-off option on utility bills that would allow customers to contribute to the New Jersey Clean Energy Program, which promotes renewable energy through rebates and incentives.
News Release - McGreevey Receives Renewable Energy Task Force Report
Report - Renewable Energy Task Force Report
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December 2002On December 17, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) adopted a final rule that requires all public utilities in the state, including rural electric cooperatives, to offer a voluntary renewable energy tariff to their customers. The rule also requires utilities to develop consumer education programs to raise awareness of the green power option and the benefits of renewable energy. The renewable energy tariffs must be filed with the PRC by the end of August 2003.
The new rule also includes a renewable portfolio standard that requires utilities to provide a minimum of 5% of all jurisdictional energy sales from renewable energy sources by 2006, increasing to 10% by 2011.
Draft Rule - Title 17, Chapter 9, Section 573 - Draft 12/10/02 (PDF 19 KB)
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January 2002Beginning March 1, the 1.2 million electricity customers served by Oregon's investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will gain three new green power options. The state's electricity restructuring law requires the IOUs to offer a portfolio of service options to residential and commercial customers. Customers of Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power will have access to the following renewable energy options:
- New Wind Energy - Customers can choose to buy fixed blocks of new wind generation each month through PGE's Clean Wind program or Pacific Power's Blue Sky program. Pacific Power customers will pay an additional $2.95 monthly for each 100-kWh block purchased while each 100-kWh block will cost PGE customers $3.50 more per month.
- Renewable Energy Blend - Customers can purchase 100% of their actual electricity usage from wind and geothermal sources supplied by Green Mountain Energy Company. Pacific Power customers will pay 0.78¢/kWh more for this option, while PGE customers will pay 0.80¢/kWh more.
- Renewable Energy and Habitat Restoration - Customers can purchase 100% of their electricity from renewable sources and also help restore native fish habitat. The power will come from Green Mountain Energy Company and the habitat restoration funds will be managed by For the Sake of the Salmon, a nonprofit conservation group. For this option, Pacific Power customers will pay the Renewable Energy Blend rate of 0.78¢/kWh plus a fixed $2.50 per month that will be applied to salmon restoration projects, while PGE customers will pay a premium of 0.99¢/kWh.
News Release - Enrollment for New Renewable Energy Options to Begin Today; PGE and Pacific Power Customers Can Choose 100% 'Green' Power for First Time
News Release - Environmental and Market-Based Options for Portland General Electric and Pacific Power Customers
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March 2008On March 19, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas signed into law a bill (S209) requiring all utilities in the state, including municipal and cooperative utilities, to offer a renewable energy option to their consumers. To comply, utilities can offer renewable energy purchase options or programs through which consumers can make voluntary contributions to the Vermont clean energy development fund. The law specifically states that: "such renewable energy pricing programs may include, but are not limited to, tariffs, standard special contracts, or other arrangements whose purpose is to increase the company's reliance on, or the customer's support of, renewable sources of energy."
News Release - Governor Signs Energy Efficiency And Affordability Act — Praises Legislature For 'Putting Progress First'
Additional Information - Text of S209
June 2003On May 30, the Vermont legislature adopted a bill (SB 0057), which the Governor is expected to sign, granting authority to the Public Service Board (PSB) to approve green power options offered by electric utilities. According to the bill, renewable energy options may be priced at a premium to standard tariffs provided that the premium is cost-based and "reasonably reflect[s] the difference between acquiring the renewable energy and the utility's alternative cost of power, including administrative costs."
The board is to consider the following factors in determining whether to approve proposed programs: (1) marketing and administrative expenses; (2) independent auditing or certification of sources; (3) marketing and promotion plans; (4) effectiveness of the program in meeting the goals of promoting renewable energy generation and increasing public understanding of renewables; and (5) costs imposed on nonparticipating customers.
The legislation also calls for a study of the possible effects of implementing a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), allocates $626,000 in oil overcharge funds for supporting the installation of small-scale renewable energy systems, and allows the PSB to set up performance-based regulatory schemes to encourage utilities to promote efficiency and renewable energy.
Additional Information - Text of SB 0057
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June 2003A new law that "re-regulates" Virginia's retail electricity industry includes a provision for the state's electricity customers to have a 100% renewable energy purchase option available to them by the end of 2008. If a utility chooses not to offer a program, its customers will be permitted to purchase green power from any licensed retail supplier. The bill also includes goals for the state's utilities to supply a percentage of their electricity sales from renewable energy sources. The renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goal schedule is 4% in 2010, 7% in 2016, and 12% in 2022.
More Information - Virginia Senate Bill 1416
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January 2006The State of Washington issued its annual report documenting the progress of voluntary utility green power programs, which included several key findings:
- In 2005, green power sales increased an estimated 57% from 2004, while customer participants increased by 11%.
- The statewide customer participation rate in green power programs is 1.09%.
- Wind energy accounted for 72% of voluntary renewable energy sales.
- Several utilities initiated a reduced pricing structure for high-volume purchasers, which has resulted in greater sales to large customers, including universities and military bases.
Washington utilities that serve more than 25,000 meters are required by state law to offer green power options to their customers.
Download Report - Green Power Programs in Washington: 2005 Report to the Legislature (PDF 165 KB) Download Adobe Reader
Washington State Contacts: Elizabeth Klumpp (360) 956-2071, Graciela Etchart (360) 664-1310
May 2001On May 8, Washington Governor Gary Locke signed into law a bill (HB 2247) requiring the state's electric utilities to offer customers voluntary renewable energy purchase options beginning January 1, 2002. Under the law, utilities are required to notify customers regularly through billing statements of voluntary options to purchase renewable energy at fixed or variable rates. Power for the programs can be supplied from the following qualified energy sources: wind, solar, geothermal, landfill gas, wastewater treatment gas, wave or tidal action, biomass, and low-impact hydro.
The Governor also signed legislation extending tax exemptions for small solar, wind and fuel cell projects (HB 1859) and extending current laws regarding geothermal energy development (SB 6107).
News Release - Locke Signs Bills to Enhance Washington's Energy Resources
Full Text of Legislation - HB 2247: Energy Supply And Demand Management
Governor's Office Media Contact: 360-902-4111
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