According to the Institute for Local Self-(ILSR) Reliance’s Community Power Scorecard, New York, California, Massachusetts, and Illinois lead the country in renewable energy legislation.
The Community Power Scorecard for 2022 gives each state a letter grade based on whether its energy policies allow cities, individuals, and communities to generate clean energy wealth locally rather than relying on utilities. Data from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, abbreviated as DSIRE, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), SolarReviews, PACENation, and Vote Solar, as well as data from the ILSR on community solar, community choice aggregation, and state legislative changes in general, are used to calculate the score.
Customer-friendly net-metering laws, interconnection rules which promote distributed renewable energy, allowing towns to choose their energy sources, allowing communities to determine their energy efficiency codes, and allowing localities to negotiate utility franchise deals and costs were among the state policies which contributed to higher scores.
In the Community Power Scorecard for 2022, 4 states succeeded, 9 states, as well as the District of Columbia, scored above average, 9 states scored average, 15 states scored poor, and 13 states scored failing.
“Many cities have lofty climate or community resilience objectives, but state regulation restricts their options. Communities can make decisions which maximize local advantages in the transition to clean energy when governments remove barriers and provide new policy options, according to Maria McCoy, who works as the ILSR Research Associate and primary author of the Community Power Scorecard.
How did the top four get their grades?
Both California and Massachusetts received an A, getting 40 points out of a possible 44. Community choice aggregation, solar/storage mandates, community solar, third-party finance, and net metering are all supported in both states (though California’s net metering program is in jeopardy). Cities in California can also create PACE funding schemes and impose stricter construction requirements.
New York received an A as well, with a rating of 38 out of 44. New York offers a community solar scheme that allows community choice aggregation.
With a rating of 37 out of 44, Illinois received an A. This year, Illinois received an A from the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which also introduced a stretch building energy code for localities to implement.
Who was the loser?
Louisiana scored an F, as did Idaho, Kentucky, and South Dakota. Louisiana finished last for the second time in a row, scoring only one point out of a possible 44. (Since 2019, it has been bottom or tied for last.) Kentucky scored a total of three points. Solar generation will not negate energy use and will be rewarded at a sub-retail rate, according to a measure passed by state legislators in 2021. Idaho received one point more than Kentucky since it has a reasonable net metering program and prohibits local governments from prohibiting gas installations. Because it does not lose points for low connectivity requirements or preempting gas restrictions, South Dakota scored four points, which is somewhat more than Louisiana and Kentucky.
The Community Power Scorecard features state leaders in nine geographic parts of the country, in addition to a full assessment of all 50 states.