The group Interstate Renewable Energy Council is out with its 2017 Clean Energy States Honor Roll and no, Oklahoma and other oil and gas states aren’t on it.
Instead, the 35-year old national independent not-for-profit organization that works to increase consumer access to clean renewable energy cited Minnesota as the state with the most growth potential; Illinois as the state with the most creative policy solution; and Utah as the ‘most surprising’ because of the steps taken to promote solar energy.
Minnesota was spotlighted for “overcoming initial challenges to community solar, tackling interconnection reforms and providing leadership on grid modernization in the Midwest. Maybe the choice had something to do with IREC’s efforts to convince the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to begin revising and updating the state interconnection procedures.
IREC stepped up after an interconnection backlog caused a new solar power effort to stall resulting in hundreds of megawatts of new solar projects unbuilt for more than a year.
Illinois was highlighted for new clean energy legislation and advancing collaborative community solar solutions. IREC said the state’s initiatives will ensure that clean energy growth will create widespread economic and social justice opportunities and also tackle critical environmental challenges.
The organization picked Utah as the most surprising for its amount of installed solar capacity in 2016 and the settlement protecting existing solar customers and saving more than 4,400 solar jobs in the state.
It described Utah as working quietly and “under the radar relative to other western states,” to create and grow its clean energy economy.
Clean energy is booming in Utah, said IREC in spite of the state’s fossil fuel industrial history and what it called “a traditionally conservative political leaning.”