States Defend Clean-Energy Mandates Targeted by Conservatives

State legislatures from North Carolina to Kansas rejected efforts to repeal or reduce renewable-energy mandates sought by conservative groups funded by oil companies and utilities.

None of the 26 bills to roll back requirements passed before most state legislature sessions ended, according to a July 9 report from Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy. Eight states voted to strengthen or modify laws that require utilities to purchase electricity produced from renewable sources.

Challenges to so-called renewable portfolio standards in effect in 30 states have increased since the lobby group American Legislative Exchange Council released model legislation in October that state lawmakers are using as a blueprint to try to water down rules supporting wind and solar energy.

“There was a big push to slow down progress after Alec got involved but the momentum is in renewable energy’s favor,” Adam Browning, executive director of the San Francisco-based Vote Solar Initiative, said today in an interview. “Poll after poll shows that Americans want clean, renewable energy and support these policies.”

Alec has received backing from oil companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. and utilities including Duke Energy Corp. according to the Center for Media and Democracy.

Rollbacks failed this year in Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. States that amended or increased renewable energy requirements include Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland and Minnesota.

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