Yesterday America voted. Today we get back to work speeding the transition to clean energy — for our communities, our economy and the world we’re leaving to our children.
There has been plenty of attention on what this midterm election meant for the balance of power in Congress. But when it comes to clean energy, the real action is at the state level. And while the dust is still settling on many of last night’s state elections, we already see opportunities to keep clean energy progress charging forward …
Big Win on the Ballot
Clean energy also won big on the ballot in Nevada, where voters had the opportunity to literally vote for solar with Question 6, which puts the state on the path to 50% renewable energy by 2030. Today we’re celebrating this win and the efforts of our Vote Solar Action Fund team and our partners that made it possible — and then tomorrow we’re hoping you’ll stick with us as we roll up our sleeves and get back to work helping solar shine.
Pro-Renewable Governors & State Legislators
With their power to set the policy agenda and — in many states — responsibility for appointing utility regulators, Governors have a huge impact on a state’s clean energy outlook, and last night there were a whopping 36 gubernatorial elections ready to bring change.
At least eight states did indeed shake things up with a flip in gubernatorial party leadership, and every single one of those seven new Governors has made campaign commitments to clean energy or climate action.
That includes the New Mexico’s Lujan Grisham and Nevada’s Steve Sisolak who both made clean energy a central part of their economic plans as well as Colorado’s Jared Polis, Connecticut’s Ned Lamont, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, Wisconsin’s Tony Evers, Illinois’s JB Pritzker, Maine’s Janet Mills who all committed to 100% clean energy.
All together, eight gubernatorial candidates won with 100% clean energy commitments and many other new and re-elected Governors support ambitious clean energy plans for their states. In states from California to South Carolina, we also saw pro-renewables legislators win or retain their seats.
Here’s what it all means for our work around the country …
West: California is primed to continue its bold leadership, and exciting election outcomes in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado all signal new opportunities for major clean energy gains in those states.
Midwest: A crop of new pro-renewable governors in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Kansas and some key legislative pick-ups give the Midwest the best chance of big clean energy and climate progress in over a decade.
Northeast: The big clean energy news for the region comes from New York, where the State Senate shifted heavily towards pro-clean energy leaders. States throughout New England generally maintained or improved the outlook for renewable energy policy.
Mid-Atlantic: Not much changed as a result of the election, but strong existing Gubernatorial leadership in New Jersey, a pro-renewable legislature in Maryland and Governor in Pennsylvania mean that this region remains a top opportunity for renewable energy progress.
Southeast: Our strategy generally remains unchanged and we see opportunities for solar progress in both Florida and Georgia. Key Republican and Democratic solar champs from both of the Carolinas retained their seats, and the North Carolina legislature saw a shift toward the center in both the House and Senate that should open clean energy opportunities.
The midterm showed that our country remains divided on many issues, but if there is one thing that Americans agree on, it’s more healthy, affordable, job-creating solar power. In a survey earlier this year, the utility industry’s own trade association, the Edison Electric Institute, found that a whopping 70% of Americans are united in wanting 100% renewable energy. It won’t be easy, but we agree that that’s a future worth fighting for — and with last night’s election behind us, we’re ready to keep fighting to make that clean energy vision a reality in states nationwide.
Thank you for being part of this powerful clean energy movement.