$180 billion – that is the estimated economic loss the United States will experience by the end of the century if no action is taken on climate change. States are increasingly interested in implementing sustainable purchasing practices and can often use their unique geographical locations and physical attributes to their advantage. Thinking creatively is key when diving into the world of sustainable purchasing, and in this post, we will explore some of the ways states are setting exceptional benchmarks in the pursuit for clean and storable energy.
In 2016, the “House Bill to Promote Energy Diversity” was signed by Massachusetts lawmakers. This bill, in part, directed utility companies to solicit offshore wind contracts by June 2017, requiring output every two years of at least 400 megawatts (MW) each. Each megawatt is equal to one million watts, which means that each MW can translate into power for hundreds of thousands of homes, depending on usage. Massachusetts’ ultimate goal is to generate 400 MW of storable wind energy, every two years, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard by placing wind farms in federally-owned waters.
The winds of change are also blowing southeast in Rhode Island. According to Wind Power Engineering and Development, the state is seeking to add 400 MW of renewable energy (including wind) to their grid, making it a whopping ten-times cleaner! Rhode Island’s Energy Office told NASPO that “Governor [Gina] Raimondo recently directed her energy team to support development of a competitive procurement for up to 400 megawatts of affordable, clean energy by this summer.” This competitive RFP will result in the delivery of more clean energy to the state at the lowest market rates, protecting taxpayers’ wallets. This is just a small part of Rhode Island’s impressive 1,000 MW initiative, which seeks to implement a wide range of clean resources, generating even more green energy for the state by 2020. The Energy Office also told NASPO that all of “these actions have been supported by the state’s Division of Purchases [led by Purchasing Agency Nancy McIntyre], which has worked in collaboration with the RI Office of Energy Resources and other partners to issue procurements for solar, high-efficiency LED lighting, and other clean energy projects.” These green initiatives have some great side-effects—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Rhode Island has added more than 5,000 green jobs since 2014, a 66% increase. The state now supports a total of 15,305 jobs in clean energy.
East coast states aren’t the only ones making an effort to reduce their carbon footprints. The American Wind Energy Association has confirmed that Oklahoma has stepped into the nations’ number two spot for wind power capacity as of 2017. Oklahoma has installed 7,495 MW of wind power capacity, putting the state second only to Texas in wind power capabilities. Oklahoma also has a significant amount of wind energy currently under construction. There is 1,366 MW of capacity being built across seven different projects, and an additional 2,159 MW of wind power currently in advanced development.
The U.S. is still catching up to the rest of the world when it comes to wind power, but we are closing the gap with innovative state solutions like those in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Oklahoma. To get a taste for what we can achieve by harnessing wind power, look no further than our friends in Europe. Denmark’s results are mind-blowing (pun intended), as they have the highest proportion of wind power in the world with 43.6% of their total energy being supplied by wind in 2017. They’ve recently invested even more – 27 million euros ($33.1 million) on test turbines in 2018. Wind power can be such a powerful tool in the green states’ arsenal and it is inspiring to see so many wind projects on the horizon!