This past year, the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) celebrated its 15th anniversary as a national, nonprofit consortium of states with robust, renewable energy programs. It is wonderful to see the impressive progress that CESA-member organizations have made to advance clean energy over that time. The collective impact of the states’ leadership and programs has been tremendous. In most parts of the country, and especially in states participating in CESA, the number of renewable energy installations has ramped up dramatically and clean energy deployment continues to grow. Both rooftop solar and utility-scale solar arrays are common sights; tens of thousands of wind turbines are churning out emission-free electricity; battery storage is in a period of rapid expansion; and various other clean energy technologies, including air-source heat pumps, wood pellet boilers, and biogas digesters, are gaining markets.
CESA’s State Leadership in Clean Energy Awards, established in 2008 and held biennially, highlight the continuing progress and achievements by state clean energy programs across the U.S. Past award winners have included state programs that supported the first Solarize program in the country and created thermal renewable energy certificates (RECs), as well as solar lease programs, commercial PACE, solar RECs, and business incubator programs, to name a few.
The 2018 award winners continue a tradition of innovation and practical solutions. The six winning programs have shown vision, perseverance, and creativity. They have helped establish new markets for offshore wind, energy storage, and solar financing. They also have stimulated community-level clean energy actions and made solar PV more accessible. The awardees illustrate the wide range of clean energy innovations that states are pursuing as they continue to transform clean energy markets.
The 2018 State Leadership in Clean Energy awardees are:
- Connecticut Green Bank for its Solar for All Partnership, a ground-breaking public-private partnership between the Connecticut Green Bank and PosiGen Solar Solutions that offers a targeted solar lease paired with energy efficiency measures for low- to moderate-income (LMI) homeowners, regardless of income or traditional measures of creditworthiness.
- Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources for the Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) Program. This program was created to jump-start the energy storage industry in Massachusetts by piloting innovative, broadly replicable, energy storage demonstration projects with multiple value streams, thereby priming Massachusetts for increased commercialization and deployment.
- New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for the Clean Energy Communities Program, which provides opportunities for local governments to earn recognition and grant funding by demonstrating their clean energy leadership. Since the program launched, over 400 communities across the state have completed more than 1,100 high-impact actions. These communities include more than 16 million New Yorkers, more than 80 percent of the state’s population.
- Oregon Department of Energy for the Renewable Energy Development Grant Program. Since 2012, this competitive grant program has awarded nearly $5 million for 55 renewable projects statewide, including solar, hydropower, biogas, biomass, and geothermal installations. A two-tiered grant award system means similarly-sized projects compete against each other, allowing small projects to remain competitive.
- Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources for its work to advance the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm, North America’s first offshore wind farm. This project represents a significant clean energy accomplishment for Rhode Island and the nation, and it is helping to spur an entirely new industry and job creator for the economy.
- Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund (RDF) for its support of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Solar Demonstration Project. With funding from Xcel Energy RDF, the MPRB installed 200 kW of solar PV in the Minneapolis parks system to model the seamless incorporation of renewable energy into public amenities, which has resulted in the deployment of public-facing solar installations that reach not only millions of people, but also very diverse populations.
In July and August, CESA is hosting a free webinar series featuring each of the winning programs to provide additional information and lessons learned. The webinar schedule is noted below, with hyperlinks to the registration pages:
- State Programs for Clean Energy in Local Jurisdictions: Examples from New York and Oregon, Wednesday, July 11, 1-2:30pm ET
- Expanding Solar PV Finance and Markets in Connecticut and Minnesota, Thursday, August 2, 1-2:30pm ET
- Building Markets: Energy Storage in Massachusetts and Offshore Wind in Rhode Island, Thursday, August 9, 1-2:30pm ET
We invite you to learn more about the State Leadership in Clean Energy Award winners, past and present at www.cesa.org/projects/state-leadership-in-clean-energy, where an upcoming and past case study reports are posted and webinar recordings can be accessed.