Are burning tires clean energy? We don't think so.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have mandatory programs to encourage renewable electricity generation. These Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) programs set renewable electricity goals and deter- mine which energy sources qualify as renewable. Such programs can be part of the energy policy portfolio to create powerful incentives to shift to renewable energy.
Unfortunately, most RPS programs have not been robust enough to foster a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy About half the states aimed to achieve only up to 25 percent renewable power. Almost all states allowed combustion-based energy sources including wood burning and the burning of waste methane (so-called biogas) to meet RPS goals.
Food & Water Watch evaluated each of the state RPS programs based on whether the program goals would target 100-percent renewable electricity, whether the programs included any of six dirty energy sources and the misguided policy of renewable energy credits, and whether the states were on track to achieve 100-percent wind, solar and geothermal electricity generation within two decades — a renewable transition time frame necessary to stop the worst and potentially irreversible effects of climate change.
Only a handful of states were projected to generate or supply the majority of their electricity from wind, solar and geothermal sources by 2038; less than half would generate even 25 percent of their electricity from these sources by 2038 Almost all states failed to measure up to each of these metrics.
Strongest Renewable Standards
Hawaii and Vermont received the highest overall relative grades (B- and C+, respectively), because of their higher target goals, fewer dirty energy sources in their portfolios and clean, renewable power generation trends.
Weakest Renewable Standards
Seven states were weak across all three metrics — lower RPS targets, more dirty energy sources in their portfolios and little shift to wind, solar and geothermal energy: Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
States without mandatory RPS programs should adopt and implement them, and states with existing policies must strengthen them to make the goals more robust and to expel dirty energy sources The states with the most ambitious targets and the fewest dirty energy sources in their portfolios generally were the states that were installing more wind, solar and geothermal energy production Stronger RPS programs can drive the essential rapid shift to clean, renewable energy that is necessary to halt the most catastrophic effects of climate change