Washington, Hawaii and Iowa are three states that have very different landscapes, natural resources and economies. As a consequence, they all have very different energy and climate change policies and electricity generation portfolios.
Washington state already has an relatively clean generation portfolio compared to other states, thanks mostly to its enormous hydroelectric generation capacity. Washington’s energy policy is generally supporting of renewables and it is considered one of the nation’s “greenest” states, with a renewable energy target, caps on emissions from polluters and the possibility of the nation’s first carbon tax, which will lead to further growth in the wind and biomass fields especially.
Hawaii’s energy use has long been centred on costly imported fossil fuels but the state has made outstanding commitments to switch to a cleaner energy supply. Hawaii is working towards reducing the state’s reliance on energy imports and increasing the utilisation of their abundant renewable resources and it is the first state to set a legal deadline for becoming 100% renewable.
Iowa again differs to the other states studied. It has an impressive wind power industry and in 2015 over 30% of the state’s electricity generation came from wind – the highest percentage of any state. Iowa’s renewable energy targets were exceeded many years ago and have not been updated however the renewables sector continues to grow.
The unique combination of resources and economic priorities in each state has led to varying outcomes in the renewable energy sector and it will be interesting to observe how the industry changes and grows in these states. To continue to read the full USA, Washington, Hawaii, and Iowa Report as part of our Research Series “The Future is Renewable: Targets and Policies by Country”, please click “Read More”.