How Central Appalachian State Policies Measure Up: 2009 Report on the Most Successful State Renewable Energy Policies

The National Renewable Energy Laboratories issues a report once a year to evaluate the effectiveness of state policies that encourage renewable energy development and production. The success of the policies is measured by various tests to determine how much renewable energy grew in that state as a result of having a particular policy in place.

The 2009 report found that for each policy a state put in place to support renewable energy production, the total number of megawatt hours produced by renewable energy in that state also increased. In other words, state-based policies aimed at supporting renewable energy growth proved successful.

What have proven to be the most effective state renewable energy policies in use?

The report found that implementing a statewide mandated Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, which requires utilities to generate a certain portion of their electricity from clean energy sources, yielded the largest growth in the renewable energy sector. None of the Central Appalachian states have implemented such a standard. West Virginia has set renewable energy portfolio goals (which are not required) and Kentucky is considering such a standard.

Further, the report showed that implementing a combination of market-based, educational, and access-enhancing policies also effectively fostered large growth in the renewable energy sector.



How do Central Appalachian states’ policies measure up?



The Central Appalachian states of KY, TN, WV and VA have a mix of policies in place to support renewable energy development and production. Yet, according to the report, the region lags behind national policy trends. In most cases, the policies our region’s states have in place do little to address the significant financial and technological barriers to clean energy sector development that exist.



The report indicated which of 15 different policies designed to support renewable energy development and production each state had in place as of 2009. In the table below, each state has an “x” marked below the type of renewable energy policy they have in place.

 
Generation Disclosure
Grants
Inter-connection Standards
Net Metering
Renewable Energy Access Laws
Tax Incentives*
KY
 
 
X
X
X
X
TN
 
X
 
 
X
X
WV
 
 
 
X
X
X
VA
X
 
X
X
X
X


*Each of the listed states offers various forms of tax incentives for renewable energy development and production. KY offers personal, sales, and corporate tax incentives. TN offers property tax incentives. WV offers corporate and property tax incentives. VA offers industry recruitment and support incentives as well as property tax incentives.



Policy summaries (note: each state’s policy varies – summaries below are intended to give only a broad overview of each policy category)

 
Generation Disclosure: Requires utilities to explain the mix of fuel that powers a customer’s electricity and to indicate the emissions associated with each fuel type on monthly bills.
 
Grants: Offered to support the development of renewable energy technology and production.
 
Interconnection Standards: Create the technological and logistical framework needed for a customer to connect a renewable energy system (such as solar panels on a home) to the grid.
 
Net Metering: Establish a way by which utility customers can measure the amount of electricity produced by a renewable energy system (such as solar panels on a home) and allows the customer to use the excess energy generation from that system to offset the electricity they would otherwise have to purchase from the utility.
 
Renewable Energy Access Laws: Enable an individual or business to install and operate renewable energy systems on private property and protects their access to the sun or wind energy that powers the system.
 
Tax Incentives: Designed to offset some portion of the overall cost of investing in or producing renewable energy technology or electricity