Six U.S. states receive national award for achievements in the advancement of clean energy

The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national nonprofit coalition of public agencies working together to advance clean energy, announced last month the recipients of the 2018 State Leadership in Clean Energy Awards.

Since 2009, the biennial Leadership Awards have recognized outstanding state programs and projects that have accelerated the adoption of clean energy technologies and strengthened clean energy markets. The six winning programs and projects were chosen by an independent panel of five distinguished judges.

An awards ceremony was held in Chicago, in conjunction with the CESA National Membership Meeting, where the 2018 Awards were presented to the following organizations and programs:

  • Connecticut Green Bank for its “Solar for All” Partnership.

The Connecticut “Solar for All” program is a ground-breaking public-private partnership between the Connecticut Green Bank and PosiGen Solar Solutions. “Solar for All” offers a targeted solar lease paired with energy efficiency measures for low- to moderate-income (LMI) homeowners, regardless of income or traditional measures of creditworthiness. “Solar for All” is an exemplary model for bringing LMI finance solutions to scale and achieving inclusive participation in the clean energy economy. According to the judges: “The public-private partnership structure has allowed the CT Green Bank to use limited public dollars to attract sevenfold private investment, maximizing the program’s impact.”

  • Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) for the Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) Program.

This program was created to jump-start the energy storage industry in Massachusetts by piloting innovative, broadly replicable, energy storage demonstration projects with multiple value streams, thereby priming Massachusetts for increased commercialization and deployment. According to the judges: “By demonstrating effective energy storage use cases and business models, the ACES program will have impacts far beyond Massachusetts.”

  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for the Clean Energy Communities Program.

This program is an opportunity for local governments to earn recognition and grant funding by demonstrating their clean energy leadership. Since the program launched, 297 communities across the state have completed more than 830 high-impact actions. These communities include more than 16 million New Yorkers, more than 80 percent of the state’s population. According to the judges: “This is a high-impact program, demonstrating results in a short period of time, and pushing new solutions as well as existing ones.”

  • Oregon Department of Energy for the Renewable Energy Development Grant Program.

Since 2012, this competitive grant program has awarded nearly $5 million for 55 renewable projects statewide, including solar, hydropower, biogas, biomass, and geothermal installations. A two-tiered grant award system means similarly-sized projects compete against each other, allowing small projects to remain competitive. According to the judges: “ODOE’s Renewable Energy Development Grant Program has an innovative funding structure that makes efficient and productive use of tax dollars.”

  • Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources for the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm.

North America’s first offshore wind farm connected Block Island to the mainland electrical grid for the first time. This project represents a significant clean energy accomplishment for Rhode Island and the nation, and it is helping to spur an entirely new industry and job creator for the economy. According to the judges: “The Block Island Offshore Wind Farm is a monumental achievement and a milestone for renewable energy in the United States.”

  • Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund for the MPRB Solar Demonstration Project.

Through a unique partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), Xcel Energy installed 200 kW of solar PV in the Minneapolis parks system to model the seamless incorporation of renewable energy into public amenities. According to the judges: “This partnership has resulted in the deployment of public-facing solar installations that reach not only a large number of people, but also very diverse populations. This means that people who may not otherwise be exposed to solar have the opportunity to experience it up-close.”

CESA Executive Director Warren Leon said:

“These award winners exemplify the tremendous progress that states are making in advancing clean energy. The six winners vary in technology, approach, and location, but they all reflect significant innovation and strong implementation. They will serve as outstanding models that can be replicated by other states, municipalities, and utilities.”

CESA-member organizations from across the U.S. submitted nominations for the awards. Entries were judged based on public benefits and results, cost effectiveness, leadership and innovation, and replicability.

CESA will release this month a report on this year’s State Leadership in Clean Energy Award winners that will include case studies on the programs. The report will be posted on CESA’s website. This webpage also contains information and registration links for a webinar series highlighting these exemplary programs. The webinars are free to attend and open to the public. The webinar schedule is noted below:

  • State Programs for Clean Energy in Local Jurisdictions: Examples from New York and Oregon, Wednesday, July 11, 1-2:30pm ET
  • Expanding Solar PV Finance and Markets in Connecticut and Minnesota, Thursday, August 2, 1-2:30pm ET
  • Building Markets: Energy Storage in Massachusetts and Offshore Wind in Rhode Island, Thursday, August 9, 1-2:30pm ET

Source: Press Release by CESA. Photo Credit: CESA.