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United States

Report grades US states on renewables policies but "leadership vacuum" remains

The fossil fuel dominated electric system in the United States is jeopardising the earth's climate, but the federal government has a "leadership vacuum" on that issue, says the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). In a report that grades the 50 states on their renewables' policy, the UCS says it found only 16 that are stepping up to fill that vacuum. It gave just two states -- California and Nevada -- an A-grade, while it failed 34 others with D or F grades. The UCS judged the states based upon the projected results of their renewables portfolio standards, which 13 have, and whether a state has a renewable electricity fund. It projects that such funds, in the 15 states which have them, will invest around $4.5 billion over the next 20 years and support about 1000 MW of renewable capacity. An A grade is given to those states with projected renewable growth of 1% a year. The organisation gave B grades to the states of Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Mexico, saying renewables will grow in those states by 0.5% a year. A C grade requires an annual growth of 0.2%. Despite the overall poor performance, the UCS is projecting growth of over 15,000 MW in renewable capacity by 2017. The report also found that California accounts for 44% of the projected renewable energy development in the US, that California and Texas together account for 60% and that the top five states account for 80% of the projected development. "The tremendous disparity in state programs and failing grades for 34 states speak to the need for a national renewable electricity standard," the UCS concludes.

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