In lieu of consistent energy policy at the federal level, businesses and power providers are increasingly looking to state legislatures for the right signals to invest in energy. The result? States are stepping up, leading to an increase in renewable energy use, particularly by some of America’s largest companies.
A quick scroll through the weekly headlines reminds us that the demand for investing in renewables today is strong – and getting stronger. Google, Walmart, GM, Lockheed Martin, Amazon and Apple all have recently shifted millions in private funding into the clean energy sector. These moves are motivated by increased revenue opportunities, and illustrate strong growth in demand for cleaner energy.
As a result, some states are beginning to link energy choice with economic growth opportunities, and state policies are rapidly evolving as a result. For example, after feeling pressure from large energy consumers like Walmart and in-state military installations that want to produce more of their own energy, Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are moving forward with a bill to allow third party solar financing and solar leasing in the state. The same week, Senate Bill 329 was brought to the floor to extend North Carolina’s 35 percent renewable energy tax credit, which has contributed to brisk growth in solar. These lawmakers rightfully view clean energy as an economic opportunity for their state and are keen to move forward with both bills.
Between tax cuts for renewable energy businesses, renewable portfolio standards and reducing anti-business regulation impeding third party financing, states have a number of tools to attract economic growth related to renewables.