Fact Sheets, Examples, and Benefits of State Clean Energy Programs

July 31, 2015

States across the country have been implementing policies to cut carbon pollution from the power sector for years – utilizing many of the same state policies that will be available for use under the Clean Power Plan.

In many cases, these policies have already resulted in improvements to the economy, cost savings to customers, and significant carbon pollution cuts. Below are a few examples of state efforts.

Leading states have recently advanced ambitious climate and energy goals.

  • Hawaii set a 100 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) target for 2045, becoming the first state to require all of its electricity to come from renewable power sources. The new law, signed June 10th, sets additional incremental and long-term renewable energy targets: 30 percent by the end of 2020, 70 percent by 2040, and 100 percent by 2045.
  • Vermont set a 75 percent Renewable Energy Standard (RES) for 2032. The law also establishes distributed generation requirements and energy transformation requirement for utilities.
  • New York set a 50 percent RPS by 2030 in its 2015 State Energy Plan released in June. The plan also requires a 40 percent reduction in carbon pollution by 2030 from the state’s 1990 levels.
  • California has long had commitments in place to cut carbon pollution to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 percent below those levels by 2050. In April, Gov. Jerry Brown established a new interim state-wide target to cut carbon pollution by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
  • Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his 2015 Energy Special Message in March, setting efficiency and clean energy benchmarks, including goals to meet at least 15 percent more of the state’s energy needs in the next decade by eliminating energy waste and to meet 30-40 percent of energy needs with clean energy by 2025.

States are creating significant benefits while reducing carbon pollution.

  • The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
    • The nine RGGI states in the northeast and mid-Atlantic have reduced power sector carbon pollution 40 percent since 2005, while the regional economy has grown eight percent.
    • A recent report by the Analysis Group found that RGGI generated $1.3 billion in economic benefits from 2012-2014. In the last three years, RGGI has created more than 14,000 new job years, and the program cut electricity and heating bills, saving consumers $460 million. A previous report demonstrated that RGGI had also generated $1.6 billion in economic benefits over the first three years of the program (2009 to 2011).
    • 2015 RGGI report found that investments of RGGI auction proceeds to date are projected to return more than $2.9 billion in lifetime energy bill savings to households and businesses in the region, and avoid the release of about 10 million short tons of carbon dioxide pollution.
  • California
    • California’s emissions from electricity have fallen by nearly 14 million metric tons CO2 equivalent between 2000 and 2013.
    • California has an ambitious renewable portfolio standard of 33 percent by 2020, which is projected to generate $60 billion and create up to 235,000 jobs.
    • Renewables now provide about 25 percent of California’s electricity. The state has shifted in-state fossil generation almost entirely to natural gas and is rapidly phasing out imported power from coal-fired power plants.
    • As noted above, in April Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order (EO  B-30-15) establishing a state-wide carbon pollution reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The order instructs all state agencies and departments to use existing authorities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. California was already committed to cut carbon pollution to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 percent below those levels by 2050. By 2025, California expects to cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 25 percent from 2005 levels.

View Full California Fact Sheet (Released July 2015)

  • New York
    • From 2005-2011, New York reduced its overall carbon pollution by 18 percent while growing its gross state product by 7 percent. From 2005-2012, carbon pollution from the power sector decreased by more than 40 percent.
    • In June, Gov. Cuomo announced carbon pollution reduction targets under the state's “reforming the energy vision" (REV) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The targets by 2030 include: a 40 percent cut in greenhouse gases from 1990 levels, a 50 percent statewide goal for renewable energy, and a 23 percent cut from 2012 levels for energy consumption in buildings.
    • Already, New York’s renewable portfolio standard requires 30 percent of electricity from renewables by 2015.
    • Cumulative environmental benefits associated with New York’s clean energy investments made during the past 15 years have helped deliver cleaner air by eliminating nearly 5,000 annual tons of NOx, and SO2 and 4.2 million annual tons of CO2, equivalent to removing 881,000 cars from New York’s highways.

View Full New York Fact Sheet (Released July 2015)

  • Minnesota
    • Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act, adopted in 2007, established state-level greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of 15 percent from 2005 levels by 2015, 30 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2050.
    • Minnesota’s renewable standard requires 25 percent of power from renewables by 2025.
    • The state’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard set a 1.5 percent energy savings goal for utilities that operate in Minnesota.
    • Minnesota’s clean energy and emissions reduction programs have helped the state reduce carbon pollution in the power sector by 18 percent from 2005 to 2012.

View Full Minnesota Fact Sheet (Released July 2015)

  • Connecticut
    • Between 1990 and 2012, carbon pollution from the power sector in Connecticut has declined by 34 percent while the state's economy grew by 41 percent.
    • A 2015 independent study estimated that between 2012 –2014 Connecticut’s investments of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative proceeds added more than $56 million in net economic value to the state and resulted in a net increase of 863 job-years.
    • Connecticut’s renewable portfolio standard requires all retail electricity suppliers to obtain at least 27% of their supply from renewable sources by 2020. The state has increased its deployment of in-state renewables more than ten fold since 2010.
    • The 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act requires a 10 percent reduction from 1990 emission levels by 2020 (which the state has already met) and an 80 percent reduction from 2001 emissions by 2050.

View Full Connecticut Fact Sheet (Released July 2015)

  • Massachusetts
    • Since 1990, greenhouse gas emissions in the power sector have fallen by 41 percent and while the state's Gross State Product increased 68 percent.
    • The Commonwealth's clean energy industry is growing rapidly. There was an increase in clean energy jobs of 11.8% in 2013 and now almost 80,000 employees are working in clean energy throughout the Commonwealth. Since 2011, growth in the clean energy sector has outpaced the growth in the overall Massachusetts economy by more than eight times.
    • The Global Warming Solutions Act requires cuts in carbon pollution from all sectors of the economy to reach a 25% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050.

View Full Massachusetts Fact Sheet (Released June 2014)


  • Oregon
    • Since 2002, the Energy Trust of Oregon has invested nearly $1 billion in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. These investments have saved customers $1.3 billion on utility bills and reduced energy demand by over 400 average megawatts.
    • Oregon’s RPS requires the state’s largest utilities to provide at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources of energy by 2025.
    • Oregon’s investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation has added $2.7 billion to the local economy, including $793 million in wages and $155 million in small business income.

 View Full Oregon Fact Sheet (Released June 2014)

  • Maryland
    • Maryland has set an economy-wide goal to reduce carbon pollution 25 percent from 2006 levels by 2020. Accelerating the reduction of carbon pollution from the electricity sector through participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and the expansion of energy savings and renewable energy programs are key components of the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.
    • An independent study found that Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan is likely to generate $1.6 billion dollars in expanded economic output and support nearly 30,000 jobs.

View Full Maryland Fact Sheet (Released June 2014)

  • Delaware
    • Delaware’s carbon emissions per Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dropped by 63 percent from 1990-2009 while economic output continued to increase.
    • Between January 1996 and January 2010, the state's clean economy jobs increased by 28 percent, significantly outpacing overall job growth.
    • In 2010, Delaware increased its renewable energy portfolio standard to 25 percent renewables by 2025 with a 3.5 percent photovoltaic requirement. Over the past seven years, Delaware has increased solar throughout the state from 2 megawatts to 62 megawatts today. Delaware is one of the top states for solar energy – ranked 7th in the nation in 2012 and 2013 per capita for solar installations.

View Full Delaware Fact Sheet (Released July 2015)