Advancing Policy

The Biggest State Clean Energy Wins, and What’s Ahead for Climate Action in 2024

May 14, 2024

Across the country, state legislatures have spent 2024 building on the tremendous clean energy success of the last four years. Historic levels of federal clean energy funding have begun to roll out in communities across the country. State and local leaders have met this with policies of their own to best utilize these dollars and fill in the gaps where federal policy might not reach.

State action will determine whether the country reaches the full promise of President Biden’s affordable clean energy plan led by policies like the Inflation Reduction Act. This year, state legislatures and governors secured innovative policies to protect communities of color from pollution, tackle transportation emissions, and hold big oil accountable. They also built on bread and butter policies like 100% clean electricity and new clean fuel standards.

These policies are led by the strength of state and local elected climate leaders but wouldn’t be possible without the partnership of the Conservation Voter Movement and partners like Bloomberg Philanthropies.

2024 State Climate and Clean Energy Wins

  • Colorado: holding big oil accountable

    Facing the threat of multiple regressive, anti-environmental ballot initiatives from the oil industry, Conservation Colorado and its state partners built a robust campaign with the support of Colorado’s pro-conservation trifecta to neutralize the oil industry attacks and pass significant climate and clean air legislation. Included among a package of bills are policies that will help plug old oil wells, codify emissions reduction targets for the oil and gas industry, require more assessment of air pollution permit applications in disproportionately impacted communities, and establish a new fee on oil production that is projected to generate an estimated $138 million annually for transit projects and public land conservation.

  • New Mexico: 4th state to adopt clean fuels standard

    The Clean Transportation Fuel Standards bill establishes a statewide fuel standard that will reduce pollutants from the transportation sector 20% below 2018 levels by 2030 and 30% below 2018 levels by 2040. The revenue generated from the program will be invested into transportation electrification and clean energy initiatives in rural, underserved communities. Transportation is now the largest source of emissions in the country. States continue to support measures to boost transportation electrification and reduce emissions from the worst polluting cars and trucks and New Mexico is proof this leadership will only continue.

  • New York: transmission infrastructure for the clean energy transition

    In the FY2025 state budget, New York enacted the Renewable Action Through Project Interconnection and Deployment (RAPID) Act which streamlines the permitting process for clean energy transmission lines. The law will make it easier to bring clean renewable energy online and help ensure New York has the transmission capacity necessary to meet the state’s ambitious 70% by 2030 clean energy goal.

  • Maine: securing Maine’s offshore wind future

    Maine and Governor Janet Mills took critical action towards implementing major offshore wind legislation passed last summer. In February, Governor Mills announced Sears Island as the preferred site for Maine’s first offshore wind port following significant stakeholder engagement and environmental and economic analysis. The port is critical to implementing historic legislation (LD 1895) passed last year committing Maine to 3GW of offshore wind. This session, Maine Conservation Voters helped clear the path for permit applications necessary to begin port construction and kickstart Maine’s offshore wind industry.

  • Maryland: steps taken to meet state’s ambitious climate plans

    The state enacted important legislation like the Brighter Tomorrow Act, which extends tax exemptions for community solar projects and establishes a bridge program to help finance smaller projects and the EmPOWER Reform bill (HB0864), updating Maryland’s successful energy efficiency program to set clear greenhouse gas reduction targets, and introducing incentives for adopting efficient electric appliances and heating. Governor Wes Moore also announced $90 million to implement the Climate Solutions Now Act and the state’s Climate Plan, with at least half of the funding going to overburdened and underserved communities. Finally, Maryland LCV helped secure legislation directing the Public Service Commission to develop a plan to achieve the state’s goal of developing 8.5 GW of offshore wind power by 2031.

  • Massachusetts: nation-leading environmental justice provisions

    Governor Maura Healey’s administration released the state’s first-ever Environmental Justice Strategy to embed environmental justice and equity considerations into the work of the Executive Office of Energy of Environmental Affairs and all departments under its purview. And the Governor’s office finalized regulations making Massachusetts the first state to require cumulative impacts analyses for air permit applications in environmental justice communities. Under the new rules, permit applicants must examine current environmental and public health conditions in the local community and carry out enhanced public outreach and engagement.

  • Virginia: 2023 election wins lead to big legislative success

    Virginia enacted a number of key clean energy policies including legislation that expands shared solar programs and the Savings Achieved Via Efficiency (SAVE) Act which sets new state energy efficiency targets and creates a process to update them every 3 years. The Virginia legislature also passed legislation to establish the Virginia Climate Innovation Authority to finance clean energy and other emissions reduction projects. By establishing a state green bank, the law would ensure the Commonwealth can access federal clean energy and climate investments from the Biden administration’s affordable clean energy plan that states are now benefiting from across the country.

    Gov. Youngkin attempted to delay implementation of the green bank legislation, but his actions were rejected by clean energy champions in the state Senate. Virginia LCV and partners are actively campaigning to urge the Governor to sign this legislation into law, establish the new financing authority, and help  build the clean energy economy in the state.

  • Wisconsin: bipartisan EV charging infrastructure

    The state passed bipartisan legislation to build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the state, unlocking tens of millions of dollars of federal funding to help small businesses, gas stations, and convenience stores finance the installation of high-speed electric vehicle charging stations, and allow for more electric vehicle adoption in the state.

Advancing New England Offshore Wind

As founding members of the New England for Offshore Wind Coalition, our state affiliates in the region are accelerating the transition to clean offshore wind energy. This video series explores how the movement has mobilized communities, businesses, and labor unions to work together toward an equitable and just clean energy transition.

What’s Ahead for State Climate Action

  • Massachusetts: considering expansive clean energy package

    Massachusetts legislators are considering an expansive energy bill that includes reforming the process to site clean energy projects and expanding clean energy procurement. Another important bill on the table would create a clean energy economic development bond program modeled on Governor Healey’s Economic Development Plan. The proposed program could secure over $1 billion for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to build a strong state foundation in climate tech and become a hub for innovation.

  • New Jersey: fighting for 100% clean electricity

    This is a critical year for the Garden State and could see some of the strongest climate progress anywhere in the country. New Jersey is in the middle of a two-year legislative session after climate champions won up and down the ballot last November. The state will take on several key priorities: 100% clean energy by 2035 (S2978), a low-carbon fuel standard, state transit funding, building electrification, and a corporate business surcharge which would generate critical revenue to preserve open and wild spaces.

  • Vermont: one last hurdle to become a 100% clean energy state

    Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV) led a coalition to update the state’s Renewable Energy Standard to require 100% renewable energy by 2030 including requirements for developing new in-state and in-region renewable energy projects. The bill passed the state House on March 19th and the state Senate on May 7th, and now heads to Republican Governor Phil Scott’s desk where it could be vetoed. VCV has been working to build strong support for 100% clean energy in the legislature and secure enough votes to override a potential veto, so this will be one to watch closely.