Clean Energy Targets Are Trending

Clean Energy Targets Are Trending

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To meet its climate goals and bring emissions down to net-zero by 2050, the US needs to shift to carbon-free power as fast as possible. While federal efforts to clean up the grid have stalled, Third Way analysis shows that states, major cities, and utilities have literally doubled-down on policies and targets to get the job done. We took the data and created an interactive dashboard to help spot important trends that could be expanded across the country. Two essential themes stood out to us:

  1. Clean energy commitments are rapidly gaining popularity. Our research identified a total of 153 portfolio standards and other commitments to clean energy since 1983. But a whopping 67% of them were adopted just since 2016.
  2. Climate leaders want more technology options to choose from. Prior to 2016, 90% of commitments were exclusive to renewable energy. That trend has almost completely reversed since then, with 73% of states, utilities, and major cities now embracing “technology-inclusive” commitments like clean energy standards that take advantage of nuclear power, carbon capture, and other carbon-free options.

It makes sense that these trends are catching on. Communities across America are increasingly feeling the impacts of climate change and demanding rapid action. At the same time, governments and utilities are becoming keenly aware of the challenges of getting to zero emissions in a few short decades using only renewable power. Incorporating additional tools like nuclear and carbon capture brings us closer to full decarbonization and significantly reduces the cost of getting there.

Play around with the dashboard below and see what other patterns jump out at you. If you’ve got a hot take, we’ve also included shareable versions of each graphic below the dashboard that you can send to your social media networks.

Clean Energy Targets Are Trending

Methodology

This interactive dashboard displays decarbonization and clean or renewable energy targets, announcements, and policies enacted by states, cities, and utilities.

  • States: We included all state renewable portfolio standards and clean energy standards and renewable and clean energy targets. We only included updates to existing policies if they increased the overall stringency of the policy. We did not include zero emission credit policies for existing nuclear, credits or subsidies for other clean energy technologies, or carbon pricing policies.
  • Cities: We included all cities that are among the 50 most populous and that have city-wide decarbonization or clean or renewable energy goals. We excluded cities that only had goals to decarbonize city-owned buildings. We only included the most recent goal for each city.
  • Utilities: We included all utilities that have official statements or commitments to decarbonize or increase their share of clean or renewable energy. We only included updates to existing policies if they increased the overall stringency of the policy.

The types of commitments have been divided into technology-inclusive or renewables-only categories. Technology-inclusive means that the commitment is open to all clean energy or zero carbon technologies. Renewables-only means that the commitment is only open to the select renewable resources defined by each state, city, or utility.

The types of commitments have also been divided into non-binding targets or binding commitments. Non-binding targets are aspirational goals, targets, pledges, or executive orders. Binding commitments are policies signed into law.

When unable to find the exact day that a commitment was made, we entered the first of that month.

For both maps, the color of a state is determined by its most ambitious and recent state level commitment — yellow for renewable-only and teal for technology-inclusive. To create the second map, we used the utility shapefiles from the Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data: Electric Retail Service Territories. The color of the utilities does not specify whether a utility is technology-inclusive or not.

Our research drew from Clean Air Task Force’s state and utility targets fact sheet, National Resources Defense Council’s blog on utilities, Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Commitments, Center For Climate and Energy Solutions’ U.S. State Electricity Portfolio Standards Map, National Conference of State Legislatures’ State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, North Carolina State University’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, and Smart Electric Power Alliance’s Carbon Reduction Tracker.

The sources for each commitment can be found below.  

Classification City, State, or Utility Commitment Type of Commitment Date Technology-Inclusive? Source
City Albuquerque, New Mexico

100% renewables by 2022

Non-Binding Target

November 21, 2018

No

 

Link

 

Atlanta, Georgia

100% renewables by 2035

Non-Binding Target

May 1, 2017

No

Link

  Austin, Texas

65% renewables by 2027

Non-Binding Target

August 17, 2017

No Link
 

Boston, Massachusetts

100% carbon neutral by 2050

Non-Binding Target

December 3, 2017

Yes Link
  Chicago, Illinois

100% renewables by 2035

Non-Binding Target

April 10, 2019

No Link
  Columbus, Ohio 100% clean energy by 2022 Non-Binding Target November 3, 2020 Yes

Link

 

Link

 

Link

  Denver, Colorado

100% renewables by 2030 and 80% carbon free economy-wide by 2050

Non-Binding Target

July 17, 2018

No Link
  Houston, Texas 100% carbon neutral by 2050 Non-Binding Target April 22, 2020 Yes Link
  Indianapolis, Indiana 100% carbon neutral by 2050 Non-Binding Target September 13, 2017 Yes Link
  Los Angeles, California

100% renewables by 2045

Non-Binding Target

April 29, 2019

No Link
  Louisville, Kentucky 100% renewables by 2040 Non-Binding Target February 6, 2020 No Link
  Minneapolis, Minnesota

100% renewables by 2030

Non-Binding Target

April 27, 2018

No Link
  New York City, New York

100% carbon neutral by 2050

Non-Binding Target

April 22, 2019

Yes Link
  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 100% renewables by 2050 Non-Binding Target September 19, 2019 No Link
  Phoenix, Arizona

100% carbon neutral by 2060

Non-Binding Target

April 12, 2016

Yes Link
  Portland, Oregon

100% renewable energy economy-wide by 2050

Non-Binding Target

June 1, 2017

No Link
  San Diego, California

100% renewables by 2035

Non-Binding Target

December 15, 2015

No Link
  San Francisco, California

100% renewables by 2030

Non-Binding Target

December 1, 2010

No Link
  San Jose, California

100% renewables by 2022

Non-Binding Target

October 7, 2007

No Link
  Seattle, Washington

100% carbon neutral by 2050

Non-Binding Target

June 17, 2013

Yes Link
  St. Louis, Missouri

80% carbon reduction by 2050

Non-Binding Target

April 17, 2017

Yes Link
State Arizona 100% clean energy by 2050 Binding Standard October 29, 2020 Yes Link
   

15% renewables by 2025

Binding Standard

November 14, 2006

No Link
  California

100% clean electricity by 2045

Binding Standard

September 10, 2018

Yes Link
   

50% renewables by 2030

Binding Standard

October 7, 2015

No Link
   

20% renewables by 2017

Binding Standard

September 12, 2002

No Link
  Colorado

100% renewables by 2040

Non-Binding Target

May 30, 2019

No Link
   

30% renewables by 2020 from investor-owned utilities

Binding Standard

March 22, 2010

No Link
   

10% renewables by 2015 from state's largest utilities

Binding Standard

November 1, 2004

No Link
  Connecticut

100% carbon free by 2040 

Non-Binding Target

September 4, 2019 

Yes Link
   

48% renewables by 2030

Binding Standard 

 May 9, 2018

No Link
   

24% renewables by 2020

Binding Standard 

April 29, 1998

No Link
  District of Columbia

100% renewables by 2032

Binding Standard

January 18, 2019

No Link
  Hawaii

100% renewables by 2045 

Binding Standard

June 8, 2015 

No Link
   

40% renewables by 2030

Binding Standard 

June 1, 2009 

No Link
   

20% renewables by 2020

Binding Standard 

June 1, 2004 

No Link
   

9% renewables by 2010

Non-Binding Target 

June 29, 2001 

No Link
  Illinois

25% renewables by compliance year 2025-2026 from large investor-owned utilities 

Binding Standard 

August 1, 2007 

No Link
  Indiana

10% clean energy by 2025 

Non-Binding Target 

May 1, 2011

Yes Link
  Iowa

Voluntary goal of 1,000 MW of wind generating capacity by 2010 

Non-Binding Target 

September 1, 2001 

No Link
   

 Investor owned utilities must own or contract 105 MW of renewable generating capacity

Binding Standard

January 1, 1983

No Link
  Maine

100% renewables by 2050 

Binding Standard 

June 18, 2019 

No Link
   

40% renewables by 2017

Binding Standard 

September 1, 1999 

No Link
  Maryland

100% clean electricity by 2040

Non-Binding Target 

May 22, 2019 

Yes Link
   

50% renewables by 2030

Binding Standard 

May 22, 2019

No Link
   

25% renewables by 2020

Binding Standard

February 1, 2017

No Link
   

20% renewables by 2022

Binding Standard

April 1, 2008 

No Link
   

9.5% renewables by 2018

Binding Standard

May 26, 2004

No Link
  Massachusetts

Raises RPS growth to 2% annually from 2020 to 2029 and 1% thereafter, increasing the Class I obligation from 25% to 35% in 2030 

Binding Standard

August 9, 2018 

No Link
   

80% clean energy by 2050

Binding Standard

August 11, 2017

Yes Link
   

5% alternative portfolio standard by 2020

Binding Standard

July 1, 2008

No Link
   

15% renewables by 2020, increasing 1% annually after

Binding Standard

April 1, 2002

No Link
  Michigan

35% renewables by 2025

Non-Binding Target

December, 21, 2016

No Link
   

15% renewables by 2021

Binding Standard

December, 21, 2016

No Link
   

10% renewables by 2015

Binding Standard

October 6, 2008

No Link
  Minnesota

25% renewables by 2025

Binding Standard

February 22, 2007

No Link
   

10% renewable by 2015

Non-Binding Target

May 25, 2001

No Link
  Missouri

15% renewables by 2021

Binding Standard

November 4, 2008

No Link
  Montana

15% renewables by 2015

Binding Standard

April 1, 2005

No Link
  Nevada 50% renewables by 2030 and 100% carbon free by 2050 Binding Standard November 3, 2020 Yes Link
   

50% renewables by 2030 and 100% carbon free by 2050

Binding Standard

April 19, 2019

Yes Link
   

25% renewables by 2025

Binding Standard

July 1, 2009

No Link
   

15% renewables by 2013

Binding Standard

June 8, 2001

No Link
   

1% renewables by 2001

Binding Standard

January 1, 1997

No Link
  New Hampshire

25.2% renewables by 2025

Binding Standard

May 11, 2007

No Link
  New Jersey

100% clean energy by 2050

Non-Binding Target

May 23, 2018

Yes Link
   

50% renewables by 2030

Binding Standard

May 23, 2018

No Link
    22.5% renewables by 2021 Binding Standard April 12, 2006 No Link
   

Renewable targets of 4% Class I and 2.5% Class I or II by 2012

Binding Standard

January 1, 1999

No Link
  New Mexico

100% clean energy by 2045

Binding Standard

March 22, 2019

Yes Link
  New York

70% renewables by 2030 and zero emissions by 2040

Binding Standard

July 18, 2019

Yes Link
   

50% renewables by 2030

Binding Standard

August 1, 2016

No Link
   

30% renewables by 2015

Binding Standard

January 1, 2010

No Link
   

25% renewables by 2013

Binding Standard

September 24, 2004

No Link
  North Carolina

60-70% carbon reduction by 2030

Non-Binding Target

August 16, 2019

Yes Link
   

12.5% renewables by 2021

Binding Standard

August 20, 2007

No Link
  Ohio

8.5% renewable energy by 2026

Binding Standard

July 23, 2019

Yes Link
   

12.5% alternative energy by 2024

Binding Standard

May 1, 2008

Yes Link
  Oregon

50% renewables by 2040

Binding Standard

March 1, 2016

No Link
   

25% renewables by 2025

Binding Standard

June 6, 2007

No Link
  Pennsylvania

18% alternative energy by 2021

Binding Standard

November 30, 2004

Yes Link
  Puerto Rico

100% renewables by 2050

Binding Standard

April 12, 2019

No Link
   

20% renewables by 2035

Binding Standard

July 1, 2010

No Link
  Rhode Island 100% clean energy by 2030 Non-Binding Standard January 17, 2020 Yes Link
   

38.5% renewables by 2035

Binding Standard

June 29, 2004

No Link
  Texas

RPS of 10,000 MW New Renewables by 2025

Binding Standard

December 16, 1999

No Link
  Vermont

75% renewables by 2032

Binding Standard

June 11, 2015

No Link
   

20% renewables by 2017

Binding Standard

March 1, 2008

No Link
   

20% renewables by 2017

Non-Binding Target

June 14, 2005

No Link
  Virginia 100% clean energy by 2050 Binding Target April 12, 2020 Yes Link
   

15% renewables by 2025

Non-Binding Target

April 4, 2007 No Link
  Washington

100% clean energy by 2045

Binding Standard

May 7, 2019

Yes Link
   

15% renewables by 2020

Binding Standard

November 7, 2006

No Link
  Wisconsin

100% carbon free by 2050

Non-Binding Target

August 16, 2019

Yes Link
   

10% renewables by 2015

Binding Standard

March 31, 2006

No Link
   

2.2% renewabled by 2012

Binding Standard

October 27, 1999

No Link
Utility AES Corporation 50% carbon reduction by 2022 and 70% by 2030 Non-Binding Target April 2, 2019 Yes Link
  Alliant Energy 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target July 22, 2020 Yes Link
  Ameren Corporation 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target September 28, 2020 Yes Link
  American Electric Power  80% carbon reduction by 2050 Non-Binding Target February 6, 2018 Yes Link
  Arizona Public Service 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target January 22, 2020 Yes Link
  Austin Energy 100% carbon free by 2035 Non-Binding Target March 9, 2020 Yes Link
  Avangrid 100% carbon free by 2035 Non-Binding Target February 13, 2019 Yes Link
  Avista Utilities 100% carbon free by 2045 Non-Binding Target April 18, 2019 Yes Link
  Colorado Springs Utilities 80% carbon reduction by 2030 and 90% by 2050 Non-Binding Target June 26, 2020 Yes

Link

 

Link

  Consumers Energy 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target February 24, 2020 Yes Link
    90% clean energy by 2040 Non-Binding Target June 7, 2019 Yes Link
    80% carbon free by 2040 Non-Binding Target February 19, 2018 Yes Link
  Dominion Virginia Power 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target February 11, 2020 Yes Link
  DTE Energy 80% carbon free by 2040 Non-Binding Target September 26, 2019 Yes Link
    100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target March 28, 2018 Yes Link
    80% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target May 16, 2017 Yes Link
  Duke Energy 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target September 17, 2019 Yes Link
  El Paso Electric 25% carbon reduction by 2025 and 40% by 2035 Non-Binding Target January 1, 2018 Yes Link
  Entergy Corporation 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target September 24, 2020 Yes Link
  Evergy, Inc. 80% carbon reduction by 2050 Non-Binding Target January 30, 2020 Yes Link
  FirstEnergy Corp 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target November 9, 2020 Yes Link
  Green Mountain Power 100% renewables by 2030 Non-Binding Target April 13, 2019 No Link
  Hawaiian Electric 100% renewables by 2045 Non-Binding Target December 23, 2016 No Link
  Holy Cross Energy 70% renewables by 2021 Non-Binding Target January 8, 2019 No Link
    70% renewables by 2030 Non-Binding Target September 19, 2018 No Link
  Idaho Power 100% carbon free by 2045 Non-Binding Target March 26, 2019 Yes Link
  Lansing Board of Water and Light 100% carbon free by 2040 Non-Binding Target July 14, 2020 Yes Link
  Madison Gas & Electric 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target May 14, 2019 Yes Link
  MidAmerican Energy 100% renewables by 2021 Non-Binding Target May 30, 2018 No Link
  National Grid 80% carbon reduction by 2050 Non-Binding Target June 18, 2018 Yes Link
  NextEra Energy 65% carbon reduction by 2021 Non-Binding Target September 6, 2018 Yes Link
  Northern Indiana Public Service Company 90% carbon reduction by 2028 Non-Binding Target October 30, 2018 Yes Link
  North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target August 18, 2020 Yes Link
  NorthWestern Energy LLC 90% carbon reduction by 2045 Non-Binding Target December 10, 2019 Yes Link
  NRG Energy 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target September 24, 2019 Yes Link
  Oklahoma Gas & Electric 95% carbon reduction Non-Binding Target July 30, 2019 Yes Link
  Omaha Public Power District 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target January 6, 2020 Yes Link
  Orlando Utilities Commission 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target October 14, 2020 Yes Link
  Pacific Gas and Electric Company Reduce 1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from company operations through 2022 Non-Binding Target July 12, 2018 Yes Link
  PacifiCorp 60% emissions reduction in emissions by 2030 Non-Binding Target October 21, 2019 Yes Link
  Platte River Power Authority 100% non-carbon resource mix by 2030 Non-Binding Target December 6, 2018 Yes Link
  Portland General Electric 80% carbon reduction by 2050 Non-Binding Target April 24, 2018 Yes Link
  Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, Inc. 80% carbon free by 2030 Non-Binding Target June 6, 2019 Yes Link
  PPL Corp 70% reduction in emissions by 2040, 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 Non-Binding Target January 30, 2018 Yes Link
  Public Service Company of New Mexico 100% emissions free by 2040, 70% by 2032 Non-Binding Target April 22, 2019 Yes Link
  Public Service Electric & Gas 100% carbon free by 2050, 80% by 2046 Non-Binding Target July 25, 2019 Yes Link
  Puget Sound Energy 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2040. Non-Binding Target December 15, 2017 Yes Link
  Sacramento Municipal Utility District 100% carbon free by 2030 Non-Binding Target July 17, 2020 Yes Link
  Salt River Project 62% reduction in emissions by end of 2030. 90% reduction in emissions by 2050 Non-Binding Target April 3, 2019 Yes Link
  Southern California Edison 80% carbon reduction by 2050 Non-Binding Target November 1, 2017 Yes Link
  Southern Company 100% carbon free by 2050, 50% by 2030 Non-Binding Target September 21, 2020 Yes Link
  Tennessee Valley Authority 60% reduction in emissions by end of 2020. 70% reduction in emissions by 2030 Non-Binding Target August 6, 2019 Yes Link
  Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association 100% reduction in emissions from coal in NM by end of 2020. 100% reduction in emissions from coal in CO by 2030. Non-Binding Target September 1, 2020 Yes Link
  Tucson Electric Power 80% carbon reduction by 2035 Non-Binding Target June 26, 2020 Yes Link
  Vectren Corporation 60% carbon reduction by end of 2023 Non-Binding Target August 1, 2018 Yes Link
  WEC Energy Group 80% carbon reduction by 2050 Non-Binding Target August 10, 2018 Yes Link
  Xcel Energy 100% carbon free by 2050 Non-Binding Target December 4, 2018 Yes Link

 

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  • Clean Energy Standards23