The buzz over renewable energy.

Author:Durkay, Jocelyn

Under scrutiny this year were renewable portfolio standards--the mandates requiring utilities to sell a certain percentage of electricity from renewable energy sources like hydropower, biomass, solar and wind.

Supporters argue that the mandates increase energy diversity, promote job growth, lower emissions and serve as important policy tools for complying with the federal government's proposed greenhouse gas emission-reduction requirements.

Opponents argue the mandates interfere with energy markets, give renewable energy unfair advantages over other technologies and no longer serve as the best method for increasing renewable energy investments.

This year, legislatures continued to debate repealing or modifying their renewable portfolio standards. Boldly going where no state has gone before, Hawaii passed a bill directing its utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity sales from renewable resources by 2045. Governor David Ige (D) signed the measure in June. Several states--Illinois, Michigan, Montana, New York and Wisconsin--and the territory of the Northern Mariana Islands will meet their mandates, meaning requirements must be extended or allowed to sunset. New York earlier announced it will not...

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