Over the next several days, advocates across the nation are celebrating clean energy innovation during National Clean Energy Week (NCEW). Every year, CRES uses the occasion to select top elected officials who not only stand up for clean energy but go above their call of duty to advance energy policies that are commonsense and economically sound. These federal and state officials are recognized as our CRES Clean Energy Champions and celebrated in Washington, D.C. and in their home states.
Our 2018 and 2017 Champions have stayed busy on energy issues.
Maine Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) was named a 2017 Clean Energy Champion because she has pushed innovate energy development in her state further than ever before. By introducing the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act in August 2017, Senator Collins aimed to expand incentives to encourage offshore wind development.
Nowadays, Senator Collins has expanded her focus to include energy storage innovation. She recently called on her colleagues to support the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act, which she introduced earlier this year. The BEST Act will help to expand grid-scale energy storage research and development that will improve the efficiency of our national grid.
We also recognized Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) as a 2017 Champion for his unflinching support for the solar industry. In 2017, Sen. Tillis led a bipartisan group that signed a letter warning against tariffs that would harm our domestic solar industry.
Last year, North Carolina ranked second only to California in terms of installed solar power. Generating capacity in the state now exceeds 4,400 megawatts. Senator Tillis continues to support solar development in his state, not only as a cleaner alternative to traditional fuels, but as a force for economic good in his state.
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA5) fit the bill as one of our Champions due to her outstanding work in Washington’s hydropower industry. Washington’s hydropower industry is the top in the nation and routinely accounts for 25 percent of America’s annual annual utility-scale net hydroelectricity generation. In the summer of 2017, Rep. McMorris Rodgers introduced the Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017, aimed at streamlining the licensing and permitting process for small hydropower and conduit projects.
Since then, Representative McMorris Rodgers has continued her hydropower advocacy and leadership as a member of the House Clean Energy & Innovation Working Group to carry Washington’s clean energy capabilities to new heights. Washington’s hydropower industry has built off the work she has done for the good of workers and ratepayers in her state.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) has done vital clean energy work in her home state, which elevated her to become 2017 Clean Energy Champion. Back in 2017, Governor Reynolds already had a model energy plan in hand that empowered Iowa’s clean energy entrepreneurs to do more.
Under Governor Reynolds’s leadership, Iowa’s wind power industry has grown exponentially. Now Iowa is one of the top four wind power-producing states in the union. In fact, in 2018, wind power accounted for 34 percent of the total electricity generation in Iowa. She continues to support local wind power manufacturing and jobs.
We applaud and support our 2017 and 2018 CRES Clean Energy Champions for continuing to elevate clean energy policies that benefit their states and our country. Check back soon, because we’ll be profiling our 2019 CRES Clean Energy Champions next week.