For renewable energy supporters, this was supposed to be a year of statehouse setbacks.
"States Cooling to Renewable Energy" read the headline of a March Wall Street Journal story reporting that more than a dozen legislatures were weighing proposals to roll back or abolish mandates that utilities purchase a certain amount of renewable energy. Mandates are in place in 29 states and Washington, D.C.
Opponents of the renewable energy requirements, which are credited with spurring wind and solar investment across much of the country, said the policies violate free-market principles and ramp up electricity costs. After the 2012 elections installed large Republican majorities in a number of states, the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) joined ranks with prominent libertarian groups in a nationwide anti-mandate blitz. Wind and solar advocates feared the worst.
So much for predictions. With most sessions now wrapped up or waning, renewable energy backers now brim with triumph and relief as they eye a legislative scorecard tilting their way.