2022 Year in Review: State progress prepares nation for major clean energy transition

Nick Abraham, nabraham@lcv.org, 206-833-7021

Most important year for climate action in U.S. history

In 2022, states continued to enact ambitious climate policies driving the U.S. transition to clean energy. Coupled with historic progress that federal leaders secured by passing the Inflation Reduction Act, states are poised to propel climate action in the years ahead.   

In the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) latest annual Clean Energy For All report, we detail how 30 states made clean energy progress in 2022 led by our state affiliates in the Conservation Voters Movement (CVM). The exciting policies, goals, and protections laid out in this report are driving the country to seize this critical moment. 

From promoting offshore wind and increasing solar access, to cutting air pollution and advancing a just transition from coal, to holding utilities accountable and securing unprecedented investments in climate action, this report highlights the bold and necessary steps states took in 2022 to build a clean energy future for everyone. 

Read the 2022 Clean Energy For All Report here

Highlights include:

  • California led the charge on electric vehicles and climate funding – The new, nation-leading Advanced Clean Cars II rule requires that all new cars sold in California after 2035 are electric vehicles. The state also secured an unprecedented $54 billion to combat the climate crisis in their last budget. 
  • Colorado continued to raise the bar for methane emission protections from oil and gas production – The Centennial State adopted rules that nearly doubled inspections of oil and gas extraction sites, tightened standards for methane leaks, and changed well clean-up rules to ensure companies are responsible for covering the costs rather than taxpayers. 
  • Connecticut committed to 100% clean electricity Their bill codified a goal previously set by Governor Ned Lamont in a 2019 executive order – zero-carbon electricity state-wide by 2040 – one of the most ambitious targets in the country.
  • Maryland sets nation-leading climate goals – Legislation passed this year committed the state to reducing carbon emissions 60% by 2031 – the strongest near-term goal in the country. In addition, Maryland created a first-in-the-nation mandate that school buses purchased after 2024 be zero-emission and codified the environmental justice definitions of “overburdened” and ”underserved.”
  • Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Governors released major climate and clean energy plans
    • Governor Whitmer released the Michigan Healthy Climate Plan to achieve 60% clean energy by 2030 including commiting to retire all coal plants in Michigan, build charging infrastructure to support 2 million electric vehicles by 2030 and allocate 40% of state climate-related funding to benefit Michigan’s disadvantaged communities. 
    • Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced his Climate Action Framework, laying out the state’s vision to achieve carbon-free energy by 2040 and invest at least 40% of state climate-related funding in disadvantaged communities.
    • Governor Evers released Wisconsin’s first Clean Energy Plan, laying a path to reach carbon neutrality, including working closely with local tribes, investing in clean energy workforce development and job training programs, and creating an estimated 40,000+ new jobs by 2030.

Thanks to policies passed in 2022, 40% of people in the United States now live in a place dedicated to 100% clean electricity. 

“2022 was, without a doubt, the most important year for climate action in U.S. history,” said Bill Holland, LCV VP for State Policy and Advocacy. “Next year, our elected leaders across the country will face the crucial test to not only successfully implement clean energy and transportation funding but continue to pass the necessary laws and protections that will build on this success and ensure communities most impacted by climate pollution share in a cleaner, healthier future.”

Since launching the Clean Energy for All campaign in 2018, LCV and our more than 30 state affiliates have secured 100% clean energy commitments from more than 1,300 successful local, state, and federal candidates. In 29 states, we have translated those commitments into policy progress, including 15 states that have committed to 100% clean energy. This year, we have seen policies that protect public health, defend our environment, create good, family sustaining jobs, reduce the legacy of toxic pollution in frontline communities, and ensure that the transition to a clean energy economy includes benefits for everyone.

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