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United States

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

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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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