eLab Accelerator 2017

Toward 100% Renewable Energy: Accelerating State Action

Project Objective

The group will build a strategy to support legislators to accelerate renewable energy standards at the state level across the country.

At Accelerator, the group plans to combine the team’s collective first-person expertise to identify how they can catalyze solutions at the state level, by exploring barriers and opportunities for adopting 100% renewable energy standards in a variety of political settings. They will identify the most effective set of tools, information, and resources that can empower legislators to implement those solutions. Finally, the group hopes to inspire a core team of champions for the initiative going forward.

Team Members

  • Jeff Mauk, Executive Director, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators

  • Melissa Miyashiro, Chief of Staff, Blue Planet Foundation

  • Max Tyler, CO, Former State Representative

  • James Albis, CT, State House Member

  • Fran Pavley, CA, Former State Senator

  • Bethany Frew, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

  • Current and former environmental legislators

Project Description

Today, more than ever, states must lead the push for renewable energy and climate action. This project is a partnership between the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) and Blue Planet Foundation.

The project aims to accelerate renewable energy standards at the state level and help policymakers understand the power and impact of setting bold renewable energy targets.

Hawaii’s experience with the nation’s first 100% renewable portfolio standards is illustrating how bold renewable targets can promote energy collaboration, prioritize DERs, and spur new approaches to value creation. Using the eLab Accelerator (Utah, April 2017), the NCEL Annual Meeting (coincident with National Conference of State Legislators Summit, Boston, August 2017), and the Puu Waa Waa Ranch microgrid (Hawaii, December 2017) as workshop platforms, we are convening a network of state legislators from multiple geographic regions and political affiliations.

This network will equip state legislators with information, technical resources, and mutual support to assist them in introducing legislation for 100% renewable energy standards in their home states. This project will also strengthen the ability of legislators to defeat efforts to weaken existing renewable energy standards. And finally, energy-smart legislators will be better prepared for an era where lawmakers are being called upon to reform the energy regulatory model so that it can keep pace with innovation.

Progress Made to Date (pre-Accelerator)

NCEL and Blue Planet Foundation have formulated an initial strategy for this initiative, beginning with forming a "core team" of state legislators and other experts at eLab Accelerator to identify barriers and challenges and further develop the strategy for the initiative. The organizations will support a workshop track on renewable energy standards at the NCEL Annual Meeting to begin creating and growing the network of legislators interested in adopting aggressive renewable standards, and will create a ‘check-in’ opportunity for legislators actively promoting these standards at the Puu Waa Waa Ranch renewable microgrid.

Post-Accelerator Outcomes

At Accelerator, the team developed the initial framework and direction for the project to support legislators in passing renewables targets that make progress towards 100% renewable energy. The team clarified their purpose and motivation, and built a core list of resources for legislators based on their assessment of success factors in past legislative success and barriers to these policy objectives. They developed a strategy for delivering tiered resources to champions likely to succeed in passing bold renewables targets in diverse states, legislators willing to build momentum through bill introduction, and the broader group of non-champion legislators who might support these targets in a variety of ways. The team established near term milestones and activities for the upcoming year, beginning with the NCEL 2017 National Issues Forum in August 2017, and building towards bill introduction in multiple states in 2018.