Combined, northeastern U.S. states added more than 800 MW of new renewable energy capacity in 2013, mostly from solar installations, and the region serves as a model for why carbon limit policies can benefit clean energy. That is according to the American Council On Renewable Energy's (ACORE) recently released Northeast Region Report.
The first in a four-part series covering all 50 states, the report focuses on the renewable energy sector in the 11 northeastern states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland) plus the District of Columbia. ACORE says the report is a review of state energy policies and programs, investment, and market openness as they relate to the current state of renewable energy and its potential for further growth.
‘The Northeast region has helped lead the reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions in the U.S. over the past decade, driven by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)," says ACORE president and CEO Michael Brower." RGGI has facilitated significant reductions in carbon dioxide and other emissions in participating states since it launched, while electricity prices declined.
‘This success of RGGI heralds the promise of positive results from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new proposed Clean Power Plan rule, which will encourage the broader adoption of renewable energy in the Northeast to achieve the state-by-state CO2 emission reduction targets," Brower adds.
The report says the Northeast region also accounted for nearly $1 billion in renewable energy asset finance, venture capital and private equity investment in 2013. Many states – notably New York and Massachusetts – maintained their renewable energy policy leadership, incentivizing even greater private-sector investment in the industry. And while states across the U.S. have begun considering whether to limit or repeal their net energy metering policies, Vermont quadrupled its net metering cap in early 2014 with significant bipartisan support, the report adds.
‘With high electricity prices, a reliance on imported energy and ongoing retirements of fossil-fueled power plants, the Northeast has strong incentives to develop local, renewable sources of energy,’ explains Lesley Hunter, ACORE's research and program manager and lead author of the report.
‘To meet 21st-century energy needs, Northeastern states need to assess and utilize all their renewable resource options, whether for centralized or distributed power generation, transportation fuels, or thermal energy, especially as technologies are becoming more cost-effective and widely adopted," Hunter concludes.
ACORE's full report can be found here.