Renewable Energy Legislative Update 2017



Renewable energy generation in the United States grew by 78,000 megawatt hours in 2017. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated that last year, nearly half of new utility-scale electric generating capacity used renewable technologies: Wind and solar added 6.3 gigawatts and 4.7 gigawatts of new generating capacity, respectively.

Photo collage of wind turbines and solar panels.In total, renewable energy provided about 17 percent of U.S. electricity in 2017. Hydropower plants generated 7.5 percent, wind energy provided just over 6 percent, biomass accounted for around 2 percent, the utility-scale solar energy produced 1.3 percent and geothermal less than 1 percent of electricity generation.

The U.S. EIA estimates that an additional 24,000-gigawatt hours of electricity was generated by small-scale solar photovoltaic systems (with a capacity of 1 megawatt or less) last year. Wind and solar energy generation both reached new records for the share of total energy produced. And in 2017, solar energy generation surpassed biomass energy generation for the first time.

During the 2017 legislative session, at least 43 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico enacted more than 150 renewable energy bills, covering a range of topics, including:

  • Renewable portfolio standards
  • Net metering and shared renewables
  • Tax incentives
  • Energy storage
  • Siting, permitting and interconnection for renewable energy facilities
  • Financing

Omnibus Renewable Energy Bills

Several states enacted comprehensive energy legislation that included renewable energy provisions. Topics ranged from net metering and renewable portfolio standards (RPS) to community solar programs and consumer protection. Renewable energy omnibus bills include:

  • New Hampshire: Senate Bill 129 addressed renewable portfolio standards, net metering and low- and moderate-income customer access to renewable energy. The bill requires that no less than 15 percent of the state’s renewable energy fund go to benefit low- to moderate-income customers. Beginning in 2017, existing methane gas sources, which began operation prior to 2006 and exceed a capacity of 10 MW at any single landfill site, will no longer meet RPS requirements. The bill increases Class II renewable energy resource requirements from 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent beginning in 2018, 0.6 percent beginning in 2019, and 0.7 percent in 2020. Senate Bill 129 also allows each subscriber to a low- and moderate-income community solar project to receive credit on their electricity bill for their portion of the project’s output. The Public Utilities Commission is required to study community solar projects and report on the costs and benefits by December 2019.
  • Nevada: Assembly Bill 405 created consumer protection rules and restored net metering. The bill largely reinstated net metering for solar photovoltaic (PV) customer-generators. Under the new rules, the first 80 megawatts (MW) of systems will be compensated at 95 percent of the retail rate for excess electricity exported to the grid. This compensation rate will decline by 7 percent for every additional 80 MW added until it reaches a floor of 75 percent of the retail rate. The bill requires the PUC to investigate the impact of net metering on utility rates by June 30, 2020. Assembly Bill 405 also created a renewable energy “Bill of Rights” that establishes the right of every utility customer to self-generate, store renewable energy and interconnect those systems to the grid, as well as receive fair compensation for energy production, and to remain within a certain rate class. Additional consumer protection provisions create disclosure requirements for the sale or lease of distributed energy systems, require certain language for power purchase agreements referencing electricity prices to be paid by public utilities and require distributed energy system installers provide a 10-year warranty. Assembly Bill 405 also authorizes the Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUC) to collect complaints about solar equipment installers and refer customers to the appropriate agency for resolution. The bill also requires utilities to submit a request for the PUC to create time-variant rates for customers with energy storage systems.
  • North Carolina: House Bill 589 modified the terms of and added a competitive procurement process to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) contracts in the state. The bill addressed third-party leasing, expanded access for small- and medium-scale solar and created a solar rebate program. The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) will determine new compensation rates for net metering customers that are nondiscriminatory and are informed by an investigation of the costs and benefits of customer-sited generation. The bill requires net metering customers pay their full cost of service, and until the new rates are in place, customers are grandfathered under a utility's existing net metering tariffs. House Bill 589 authorizes community solar programs within the territory of Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress. These community solar facilities must have at least five subscribers and no single subscriber may own more than 40 percent interest in the project. Subscribers will be credited at the avoided cost rate rather than the retail rate for electricity produced. The bill also authorizes solar leases for customers within the territory of Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress and any municipal utility provider that opted into providing solar leases if they acquire the appropriate certificate from NCUC. House Bill 589 prohibits utilities from recouping costs associated with solar leases through rates. Additionally, the bill requires NCUC to adopt an expedited review process for swine and poultry waste energy projects of 2 MW or less.

Renewable Portfolio Standards and Renewable Energy Credits

Photo showing renewable energy credits.Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) require that a specified amount or percentage of electricity sold by utilities come from qualified renewable energy sources. RPS policies can help states diversify their energy resources, reduce emissions and encourage economic growth. At least 29 states have established renewable portfolio standards, while eight states and one territory have set voluntary renewable energy goals.

To verify compliance with RPS program, states have created a system where generators earn renewable energy credits (RECs) when they produce electricity using qualified renewable energy sources. These credits can be sold or traded to meet state renewable portfolio requirements.

During the 2017 legislative session, at least 10 states enacted legislation related to RPS and REC policies, including Connecticut (House Bill 7036, House Bill 7104), Maryland (House Bill 1106, House Bill 1414), Maine (House Paper 744), Montana (Senate Joint Resolution 2), New Hampshire (Senate Bill 51), Ohio (House Bill 49), Oregon (Senate Bill 339, Senate Bill 328), Pennsylvania (House Bill 118), Rhode Island (House Bill 5274, Senate Bill 112), and Wisconsin (Senate Bill 144).

As renewable energy capacity increases and system costs decrease, states are considering whether RPS policies are still needed to drive renewable energy growth. At least three states—Maryland, Montana and New Hampshire—enacted legislation to study the costs and benefits of their RPS and REC policies.

Examples of enacted RPS legislation include:

  • Connecticut enacted two bills regarding the state’s renewable portfolio standards. House Bill 7104 repealed the allowance for utilities to reach their RPS standards by producing a larger quantity of energy using renewable sources in the first three months of the succeeding year, thereby making up the difference. House Bill 7036 increased certain renewable energy requirements from 3 to 4 percent in the years 2018 to 2020 and impose a penalty if utilities fail to meet Class II renewable energy requirements.
  • Legislation in Maine (House Paper 744) authorized the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to direct investor-owned and distributional utilities to enter into long-term contracts to procure renewable energy credits or capacity resources. The bill also requires the PUC submit an annual report on the status of capacity resources, energy and renewable energy credit procurement as well as a plan to reach Maine’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the following year.
  • Maryland legislators overrode Governor Hogan's veto to enact House Bill 1106, which increases the state's renewable energy requirements. The bill raises the RPS to 25 percent renewable energy by 2020, from the previous target of 20 percent by 2022. 
  • A bill enacted in Oregon (Senate Bill 339) limits the amount of electricity generated at any single biomass facility that can be used to fulfill renewable energy requirements to 20 megawatts for utilities serving 25,000 or more retail consumers. The bill also allows small-scale renewable energy projects or biomass facilities to be used to meet RPS requirements. 
  • Rhode Island enacted companion bills (House Bill 5274 and Senate Bill 112), which extended the Renewable Energy Growth Program through 2029 and increased the annual target for renewable energy production for each year by 40 megawatts above the target for the preceding year.

Siting, Permitting and Interconnection

Windy turbines and solar panels against a mountain backdrop.Siting, permitting and interconnection policies are integral parts of state renewable energy policy and can be used by states to adjust the barriers to renewable energy system installations. Siting and permitting policies include setback requirements; site standards, including land use designations; and permitting requirements. Interconnection policies address the process of connecting renewable energy systems to the electric grid. Some states have created streamlined permitting and interconnection processes to reduce the “soft costs” of solar and wind energy systems.

Legislation related to siting, permitting and interconnection was enacted in at least 15 states, including California (Assembly Bill 546, Assembly Bill 634, Assembly Bill 1414, Assembly Bill 809), Georgia (House Bill 238), Montana (House Bill 216), North Dakota (House Bill 1181, House Bill 1378, Senate Bill 2313), Nevada (Senate Bill 314), Oklahoma (Senate Bill 593), Oregon (House Bill 2111, House Bill 3456), Rhode Island (House Bill 5575, House Bill 6095, Senate Bill 562, Senate Bill 570, House Bill 5483), South Dakota (House Bill 1012), Tennessee (House Bill 1021), Texas (Senate Bill 277), Utah (Senate Bill 154), Virginia (Senate Bill 1395), Washington (Senate Bill 5470) and Wyoming (Senate Joint Resolution 2).

Examples of siting, permitting and interconnection legislation enacted in 2017 include:

  • Utah enacted Senate Bill 154, which created a solar rights policy. The bill specifies that imposed restrictions cannot decrease solar energy system efficiency by more than 5 percent or increase installation costs by more than 5 percent. Additionally, 67 percent of voting members of an HOA must vote in favor of adding amendments prohibiting solar energy installation. California (Assembly Bill 634) and Oregon (House Bill 2111) enacted similar legislation—California legislation expanded existing solar rights policies, while Oregon legislation established a new solar rights law.
  • A bill enacted in MontanaSenate Bill 11, requires the Public Service Commission to review and update interconnection standards for net-metered systems every two years. The commission must adopt interconnection requirements for customer-generators necessary to protect public safety and to guarantee system reliability. Regulations must also ensure interconnection standards conform with national electric and safety code standards.
  • Legislation enacted in Rhode Island (House Bill 5575Senate Bill 562) requires the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources to create a universal process for obtaining a single permit from municipalities that encompass both building and electrical permits for solar photovoltaic systems.
  • Washington Senate Bill 5470 reduced the number of public hearings required for new geothermal sites from two to one and removed the requirement that hearings be publicized in newspapers. The bill also allows a geothermal energy site to receive a single drilling permit rather than requiring each core to have a permit.

At least four states, including California (Senate Bill 809), Georgia (House Bill 238), Oregon (House Bill 3456) and Rhode Island (House Bill 6095), enacted legislation pertaining to land use designation and renewable energy system installation. Two examples of enacted legislation follow:

  • Legislation in Oregon permitted the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities on high-value farmland located in the service area of an electric utility, but not located in an irrigation district. 
  • Rhode Island House Bill 6095 exempted land classified as farm, forest or open space from the land use tax if the landowner converts no more than 20 percent of the total acreage to renewable energy production. Dual use land does not count towards the calculation of 20 percent of total acreage.


Financing programs can increase the adoption of renewable energy systems by reducing the amount of up-front capital required for investment in renewable energy technologies. Financing mechanisms include loans, on-bill financing, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) and state green energy banks.

Conceptual image of money house on green landscape.In 2017, at least 21 states enacted legislation referring to financing renewable energy systems or technologies, including Alaska (House Bill 80), California (Assembly Bill 1070, Assembly Bill 1284, Senate Bill 205, Senate Bill 242), Colorado (House Bill 1363), Connecticut (House Bill 7208), Florida (Senate Bill 90), Hawaii (House Bill 794, House Bill 1333), Illinois (House Bill 2831), Michigan (Senate Bill 375), Minnesota (Senate File 550, House Bill 1), Montana (House Bill 6), Nebraska (Legislative Bill 625), Nevada (Assembly Bill 5, Senate Bill 407), New York (Senate Bill 5990), North Carolina (House Bill 589), Ohio (House Bill 49), Oregon (House Bill 2132), Rhode Island (House Bill 5199, House Bill 5842, Senate Bill 30, Senate Bill 637), Texas (House Bill 2654), Utah (Senate Bill 178, Senate Bill 273) and Virginia (House Bill 1500, House Bill 1760, House Bill 2390, Senate Bill 1394, Senate Bill 1418).

Examples of enacted legislation include:

  • California enacted at least four bills related to PACE financing, three of which address consumer protection:
    • Assembly Bill 1284 requires PACE program administrators to make good faith determinations of a customer’s ability to repay financing before approving an assessment contract. The bill brings PACE program administrators under similar oversight as finance lenders and brokers and establishes new licensing requirements. The Department of Business Oversight is required to begin regulating PACE providers, making California the first state to regulate the industry.

    • Senate Bill 242 builds on consumer protection provisions established in 2016. Among its provisions, the bill requires program administrators to orally relay the contract terms to customers on a recorded call and ensure that homeowners understand that they repay financing through property tax bills. The legislation also mandates that administrators offer this information in languages other than English. Legislation extended the three-day right to cancel to contractors (not just to a PACE contract) and prohibits any “kickbacks” or incentives paid to contractors for PACE referrals. Additionally, program administrators must report twice a year on the number and dollar amount of assessments funded, project and customer data and the number of defaults and missed payments.

    • Among its provisions, Assembly Bill 1070 required the solar companies to disclose accurate, clear and concise information regarding the installation of a solar energy system to the consumer prior to installation in the same language as was principally used in the sales presentation and marketing material. The bill authorizes the Contractors' State License Board to receive and review complaints and consumer questions and requires the board to compile an annual public report.

  • An enacted Hawaii bill (House Bill 794) assists the University of Hawaii’s net-zero energy goal, creating a revolving loan fund for energy efficiency investments and requiring the university to submit annual reports on the use of the fund.
  • Illinois House Bill 2831 authorized commercial PACE (C-PACE) financing in the state. The bill allows localities to establish C-PACE programs and create PACE areas.
  • Minnesota Senate File 550 allocated funding to the Geotargeted Clean Energy Distribution Initiative to analyze distributed clean energy investments as alternatives to utility capital investments for transmission and to conduct pilot programs to meet forecasted electricity demand with energy efficiency and other distributed energy resources.
  • Senate Bill 5990, enacted in New York, authorizes municipal governments to use state monies for their sustainable energy loan program and to limit the amount that commercial or nonprofit entities may borrow based on property value, projected savings, project cost and existing indebtedness.
  • Nevada Senate Bill 407 established the Nevada Clean Energy Fund, which operates as a green bank and seeks to increase the speed and volume of financing available for clean energy projects. 
  • A bill enacted in UtahSenate Bill 273, amends the state’s commercial PACE program, limiting judicial recourse to challenge certain assessments. The bill requires the Office of Energy Development to administer and direct the actions of the commercial PACE district, allows a local entity to levy an assessment against government land under certain circumstances, and allows a property owner to pay an energy assessment in installments.

Net Metering

Netmetering infographic.Net Metering policies allow distributed generation customers to sell excess electricity to a utility at a retail rate and receive credit on their utility bill. As distributed generation grows, states are exploring how to most effectively balance demand for distributed energy technologies and the technology’s impact on the electric power grid. As distributed energy generation evolves, some states have adopted alternative compensation models. Legislation related to net metering and rate design was enacted in at least seven states in 2017, including: Indiana (Senate Bill 309), Montana (Senate Bill 11, House Bill 219), Nevada (Assembly Bill 405), North Carolina (House Bill 589), Rhode Island (House Bill 5618, Senate Bill 1007, House Bill 5318, Senate Bill 880), Vermont (House Bill 411) and Virginia (House Bill 2303).

Examples of enacted legislation include:

  • Indiana Senate Bill 309 established an eventual phaseout retail rate net metering that will occur by July 2022 or once utilities reach their aggregate caps, whichever is earlier. Existing customers and those who installed solar or wind energy systems by the end of 2017 were grandfathered under the existing retail rate for 30 years. Those who install distributed generation systems before 2022 will be compensated at the retail rate for up to 15 years. After 2022, customers who install solar or wind energy systems will be compensated at the utility's wholesale cost plus a 25 percent premium.
  • Nevada enacted Assembly Bill 405, which creates a Renewable Energy Bill of Rights for customer-generators and sets net metering rates for customer-generators based on kilowatt-hour capacity. (See the “Omnibus” section for more information on this bill.)
  • Companion bills enacted in Rhode Island (House Bill 5618 and Senate Bill 1007) allow educational institutions and nonprofits to participate in net metering. The bills also repeal the net metering system capacity limit of 30 megawatts for public entities, nonprofits, and educational institutions.
  • A Virginia bill (House Bill 2303) established a program to allow small agricultural generators to sell the electricity generated from a small agricultural generating facility to their utility. The bill defines small agricultural generating facilities as having a capacity of not more than 1.5 megawatts and generation that does not exceed 150 percent of the customer's expected annual energy consumption. The bill also ends enrollment by eligible agricultural customer-generators in the existing net metering program by July 1, 2019. Those already enrolled by this date are grandfathered for up to 25 years.

Several states, including Montana (House Bill 219), Rhode Island (House Bill 5318, Senate Bill 880), North Carolina (House Bill 589) and Nevada (Assembly Bill 405), enacted legislation requesting studies of state net metering policies. Examples of enacted legislation include:

  • Montana House Bill 219 required the state’s public utilities to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of net metering. Based on study results, the bill allows the Public Service Commission (PSC) to authorize a utility to create a new customer class with separate rates. If the PSC allows utilities to create a new customer class and rate structure, net metering customers will be grandfathered under existing rates. The study must also determine whether there is cost-shifting from net metering customers to other customers. 
  • Legislation enacted in Rhode Island (House Bill 5318Senate Bill 880) moves forward the date for a study on the costs and benefits of net metering to all customers by one year, from 2019 to 2018.

Tax Incentives

Piggy bank of green savings.States have encouraged renewable energy projects by providing tax incentives. These incentives may reduce the cost of installing systems through reducing tax liability, mitigating or eliminating post-installation increases in property value or providing exemptions from or refunds of sales taxes. During the 2017 legislative session, at least 13 states, including Arizona (House Bill 2528), Hawaii (House Bill 1044), Louisiana (House Bill 187), Maryland (Senate Bill 758), North Carolina (Senate Bill 257), New Jersey (Senate Bill 158), New York (Assembly Bill 260), Oklahoma (House Bill 2298), Oregon (House Bill 2760), Rhode Island (House Bill 6095, Senate Bill 570), Texas (Senate Bill 277), Utah (House Bill 2760) and Washington (Senate Bill 5939, Senate Bill 5977), enacted legislation to repeal, renew, expand or update their renewable energy tax incentives.

Examples of enacted legislation include:

  • Arizona enacted House Bill 2528 to repeal state income tax credits for renewable energy product manufacturers beginning in 2018.
  • Legislation enacted in Louisiana (House Bill 187) reauthorized tax credits for solar energy systems installed before July 2016 that were eligible for a 50 percent credit before a $10 million cap was placed on the program.
  • New York legislation (Assembly Bill 260) exempted an increase in the value of real estate property resulting from the installation of certain renewable energy systems—including solar, wind and farm waste systems—and energy storage systems from real estate taxes for fifteen years. Qualifying systems must meet certain installation requirements to be eligible.
  • A Washington bill (Senate Bill 5939) provided guidelines for the phase-out of existing renewable energy tax incentives. The bill also established a new solar incentive program that will provide new solar energy systems with a credit for eight years or until 50 percent of the system cost is received. The bill also removed the sales tax exemption on solar installations unless the project capacity is over 500 kilowatts. The program is capped at $110 million. The legislation required manufacturers of solar panels to plan and pay for recycling of their product.

Energy Storage

Energy storage panels.Energy storage can help integrate renewable energy into the electric grid and can provide resiliency, reliability and cost savings. In 2017, installations of energy storage grew 27 percent, adding 431 MWh of new energy storage capacity. The cost of installing energy storage systems has fallen by nearly two thirds in the past five years, contributing to continued growth in storage capacity. At least 10 states passed legislation on energy storage in 2017, including California (Assembly Bill 546), Louisiana (House Resolution 133), Maryland (House Bill 773), Minnesota (Senate File 1456), Nevada (Senate Bill 145, Senate Bill 204), New York (Assembly Bill 6571, Assembly Bill 260), North Carolina (Senate Bill 257), Oregon (House Bill 2132), Vermont (Senate Bill 52) and Virginia (Senate Bill 1258).

At least four states, including Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Maryland, enacted legislation requesting studies to explore increasing energy storage or incentivizing the development of energy storage technologies. Notable legislation includes:

  • Louisiana adopted House Resolution 133 to request the Louisiana Public Service Commission study the Customer Lowered Electricity Price (CLEP) battery pilot and the feasibility of implementation. CLEP was designed as a market-based electricity pricing plan to strengthen electricity delivery, incentivize investments in the electric grid and avoid subsidies and taxation. The CLEP battery pilot program stores a day's worth of residential electricity needs, allowing consumers to purchase electricity during off-peak periods and to sell excess energy back to the grid during high usage periods.
  • Legislation enacted in Nevada (Senate Bill 204) instructed the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to study the costs and benefits of establishing biennial energy storage targets for utilities. The bill required the PUC to study the role of energy storage in integrating renewable energy, ensuring grid reliability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If the PUC determines the benefits outweigh the costs, it must establish targets and regulations for energy storage systems.

Other examples of enacted energy storage legislation include:

  • A California bill (Assembly Bill 546) required cities and counties to make energy storage permit applications available on a publicly accessible website and to allow for the electronic submission of applications.
  • New York enacted Assembly Bill 6571, which established the Energy Storage Deployment Program to encourage the installation of energy storage systems. The bill also authorized the New York Public Service Commission to determine a target in consultation with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Long Island Power Authority for the installation of energy storage systems by 2030.
  • Legislation in Oregon (House Bill 2131) expanded its Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program to include energy storage projects.

Technology-Specific Legislation

Renewable energy showing windy turbines and solar panels against bright blue sky.In 2017, renewable energy generation capacity continued to grow. Although 30 percent less solar was installed in 2017 than in 2016, solar energy market exceeded 2015 levels by 40 percent. And, utility-scale solar power generation grew 47 percent in output. Further, the United States added 7,017 MW of wind power capacity in 2017. Together, wind and solar provide 10 percent of the U.S. electricity supply.

During the 2017 legislative session, at least 17 states enacted technology-specific legislation for biomass, solar and wind, including Alabama (House Bill 313), California (Assembly Bill 1414, Assembly Bill 797, Senate Bill 92), Connecticut (Senate Bill 943), Florida (Senate Bill 90), Louisiana (House Resolution 133), Minnesota (Senate Bill 943, House Bill 1545), Montana (House Bill 216), Nevada (Senate Bill 314), New York (Assembly Bill 6571), North Carolina (House Bill 589), North Dakota (House Bill 1181, House Bill 1378, Senate Bill 2313), Oregon (Senate Bill 634), Rhode Island (House Bill 5483), Tennessee (House Bill 1021), Vermont (Senate Bill 52) and Washington (Senate Bill 5128).

Examples of enacted solar-specific legislation include:

  • California Assembly Bill 1414 revised the definition of "solar energy system" to include any photovoltaic (PV) device or technology that is integrated into a building, including, but not limited to, PV windows, siding and roofing shingles or tiles. The bill also extended the applicability of limits on solar permit fees to all solar energy systems and extended the repeal date to 2025. Assembly Bill 1414 also reduced the maximum permit fees for solar PV and thermal systems and authorized permit fees that exceed these charges if the city, county or charter city provides substantial evidence of the reasonable cost to issue the permit.
  • Another bill enacted in California, Assembly Bill 797, promotes the installation of solar thermal systems throughout the state and requires utilities providing gas service to adopt, implement and finance a solar thermal system incentives program.
  • Florida enacted Senate Bill 90, which requires solar installers to provide buyers and lessees with certain information, including a notification that the buyer or lessee can rescind the agreement within three business days after signing, performance guarantees, a description of incentives, rebates and tax credits associated, warranty or maintenance obligations and approximate completion dates for the installation. The bill also establishes an 80 percent tax abatement for non-residential renewable energy property.
  • Legislation enacted in Maryland (Senate Bill 1158) requires the pollinator-friendly designation for solar energy generation facilities to include providing appropriate maintenance of pollinator vegetation and a scorecard from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The bill also authorizes the DNR to charge a reasonable fee to solar energy generation facility owners to cover the cost of the pollinator-friendly designation.
  • Virginia Senate Bill 1393 requires the state’s investor-owned utilities—Dominion Virginia and Appalachian Power—to develop community solar pilot programs for retail customers. The bill allows utility cooperatives to develop community solar pilot projects in their territories. The pilot program has a duration of three years unless renewed or made permanent by legislation. Appalachian Power’s program must be between 0.5 MW and 10 MW; Dominion Virginia’s program must be between 10 MW and 40 MW. Program design and voluntary rate schedule will be approved by the Commission.

Examples of enacted legislation on wind energy include:

  • North Dakota enacted three wind energy bills (House Bill 1181, House Bill 1378, Senate Bill 2313) that specify siting and permitting requirements. House Bill 1181 allows property or energy rights owners to terminate wind option agreements, easements or leases if the wind project owner fails to provide a certificate of site compatibility or if a conditional use permit has been issued and an interconnection request is suspended or has not been processed. House Bill 1378 authorizes the development of aircraft lighting detection for wind energy facilities. Senate Bill 2313 creates the Wind Energy Restoration and Reclamation Oversight Program to support property owners in wind property restoration and reclamation. The bill also established setback requirements for wind energy systems of one and one-tenth the height of a wind turbine from a property line or three times the height of a wind turbine from an inhabited residence.
  • Tennessee House Bill 1021 halted construction of wind energy generating facilities through July 1, 2018, so that a special joint legislative committee can conduct a study of and offer recommendations for siting and regulations for wind energy facilities.
  • Legislation enacted in Montana (House Bill 216) requires owners of wind generation facilities to submit a decommissioning plan and bond to the Department of Environmental Quality and allows wind generation facility owners to repurpose or extend the lifespan of the facility with proper documentation and "substantial" investment.

Examples of enacted biomass legislation include:

  • Legislation enacted in Alabama (House Bill 313) encourages the use of forest-based renewable energy. The bill exempts fuel chips produced at the site of severance from taxes established in the bill. Fuel chips include woodchips that are produced from tree tops and limbs, logging slash (woody debris generated during logging operations), down timber material or standing live or dead trees that do not meet commercial standards.
  • A bill in Oregon (Senate Bill 634) authorized contractors to include woody biomass energy technology as green energy technology in the construction, reconstruction or renovation of public buildings.

Other Notable Legislation

Several states enacted legislation in 2017 that does not fall within one of the categories listed above. This section includes legislation regarding federal-state agreements, access to renewable energy for low- and moderate-income customers and power purchase agreements.

Notable enacted legislation includes:

  • Wyoming Senate Joint Resolution 2 resolved by the legislature that Congress enact legislation providing for the payment of 50 percent of all rents and fees received by the federal government from wind and solar energy developments on federal land to the state in which those developments are located. This resolution would provide consistency with existing law regarding the disposition of royalties and fees received from the production of fossil fuels and geothermal energy on federal land.
  • House Joint Memorial 3, adopted in Idaho, resolves that the federal government provide funding for the research at the Department of Energy's Idaho site including renewable energy and bioenergy research.
  • Legislation enacted in California (Assembly Bill 523) requires the California Energy Commission to allocate certain percentages of various funds for the demonstration and deployment of technology at sites located in and benefitting "disadvantaged communities.” The bill also requires the Commission, under the Electric Program Investment Charge program, to consider adverse localized health impacts of proposed projects and give preference for funding to clean energy projects that benefit residents of low-income or disadvantaged communities.
  • Nevada Senate Bill 145 requires that the Public Utilities Commission authorize incentives up to $1 million per year for the installation of solar energy systems and distributed generation systems for the benefit low-income electricity customers in the state.
  • A bill enacted in Virginia (House Bill 2390) directs Appalachian Power to expand the pilot program for renewable energy power purchase agreements authorized under legislation enacted in 2013. Prior to the bill’s passage, the pilot program was only authorized within Dominion Power's service territory. The legislation provides that nonprofit and private institutions of higher education that are not being served under a specific renewable generation tariff provision are deemed to be customer-generators eligible to participate in the pilot program and are not required to participate in the utility's net energy metering program. The aggregated capacity of third-party power purchase agreements in Appalachian Power's pilot program is capped at 7 megawatts.

Additional Resources