As we first highlighted in our Dispatch  last December, renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS) are a great way to stimulate renewable energy development. By requiring that a certain percentage of a state's electricity come from renewable energy, RPS jump starts economic development and job creation.
This session, the states have taken the idea and run with it. Leading the pack is Minnesota , which just passed a requirement of 25 percent use of renewables by 2020. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ellen Anderson and Rep. Aaron Peterson, easily passed both houses with wide bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Pawlenty. Minnesota is taking the lead but is not alone:
- Oregon  is aiming for "25 by '25". SB 373 introduced by Sen. Brad Avarkian starts with a 5 percent requirement by 2011 and increases to a requirement of 25 percent of electricty sales to come from renewables by 2025.
- North Carolina is also following with a bill introduced by Rep. Pricey Harrison that would require an RPS of 20 percent by 2020. HB 77 has fifty-five sponsors and co-sponsors, a stark change from when Rep. Harrison first introduced the bill in 2005.
- New Mexico's legislature increased its RPS four-fold and now requires 20 percent renewables use by 2025. Led by Sen. Michael Sanchez, SB 418  was signed into law by Governor Richardson this past Monday.
- Colorado is also looking to increase its standard from 10 percent to 20 percent by 2020. HB 1281 , sponsored by Rep. Jack Pommer and Robert Witwer and Sen. Gail Schwartz, passed through the House and is currently in the Senate.
- California accelerated their RPS from 20 percent by 2017 to 20 percent by 2010. The Public Utilities Commission is now looking at ways to increase  the percentage of renewables to 33 percent by 2025.
In Congress, a 20 percent by 2020 bill was introduced in the House by a bi-partisan coalition of congressmen, but states are already way ahead. As Governor Pawlenty said when signing the Minnesota bill, "Today, we are leading the nation on the path to a better, cleaner, more independent energy future."
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