Climate & Renewable Energy

Climate Change photoAddressing Climate Change - Increasing Renewable Energy

Join in the movement to encourage Delaware to make a just transition to clean, renewable energy. A key component of renewable energy is solar.  While Delaware has made progress in using solar energy, there is still plenty of room to grow.  Our state is nationally ranked 33 (up from 39 in 2017).  The cost for solar energy has decreased 43% over the last four years, and over 14,000 homes are powered by solar.  For more information, see the recent state-by-state comparison provided by the Solar Energy Industries Association.   

Together, we can advocate for policies that significantly reduce our dependence on dirty fossil fuels, govern renewable energy in Delaware, cut greenhouse gases in Delaware and in our region, and address the impacts from climate change.  First on the agenda -- help us pass state legislation to double the amount of renewable energy used in the First State.  See the discussion below on how we can accelerate the use of clean energy by increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Beyond Coal

Beyond CoalCoal is America's dirtiest energy source. The National Sierra Club campaign to move America beyond coal aims to retire one-third of the nation's coal plants by 2020, replacing them with clean energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal. Delaware needs to take steps to lead in this effort  to improve our air, better our health, create clean renewable jobs, and provide for a sustainable future.  Key ways to accomplish this in Delaware include:  1) working to double the Renewable Portfolio Standard so that it requires Delaware utilities to obtain 50% of their energy from clean renewable sources; 2) reducing our energy consumption from dirty fossil fuels by replacing it with clean, renewable energy; and 3) participating in regional efforts to reduce pollution such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  

Renewable Portfolio Standard

RPS Fact Sheet 4-18

 Partnerships:  Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

RGGI Photo Power lineThe Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a key part of most Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States’ strategy to reduce pollution from fossil fuels and shift to clean energy. By limiting carbon pollution from power plants, requiring emitters to buy permits to pollute and investing the revenues in energy efficiency and renewable energy, RGGI has helped states participating in the RGGI program meet our environmental and energy challenges while curbing dependence on fossil fuels and saving consumers money. RGGI-funded investments are also benefiting states economically, boosting growth and creating jobs during the first two and a half years of operation. Organizations, businesses, and individuals are urging Governors and other officials to keep their states on a path to a cleaner, more prosperous energy future by improving RGGI in the following ways:

  1. Adjust the cap to ensure that it reduces emissions 20% below current levels by 2020 and ensure that it is on track to reduce emissions by, at least 80% by 2050.

  2. Guarantee that revenue from the RGGI program are invested in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs that will save energy, lower costs, create local jobs and reduce pollution.

  3. Prevent loopholes that will undermine the effectiveness of the program to achieve its emission reduction targets.

There are 309 total partners calling for improvements to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  In addition to the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club, other Delaware partners include:  American Institute of Architects, Delaware Chapter; Brandywine Sprouts, a Chapter of Roots & Shoots International; Citizens for Clean Power; Coalition for Climate Change Study and Action; Delaware Audubon Society; Delaware Greenways; Delaware Interfaith Power and Light; Delaware League of Women Voters; Delaware Nature Society; Delaware NESEA, the Delaware Chapter of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association; Delaware Pacem in Terris; Delaware Riverkeeper Network; Newark Branch NAACP; Sustainable Delaware; Sustainable Economic Development Strategies LLC; and University of Delaware Students for the Environment. 

Partnerships:  Regional Transportation and Climate Initiative

Our transportation system is outdated, congested, unreliable, and difficult for some people to access. Transportation is the largest regional source of greenhouse gas pollution, accounting for more than 42% of carbon pollution in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C. Clean transportation solutions such as electric cars and buses, reliable transit, and safer opportunities to walk and bike are needed in Delaware and in the region. 

Cartoon of an electric vehicle parked under and plugged into solar panels

The Regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is patterned after the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which encourages regional cooperation to promote solutions to climate change.  In 2018, a series of six regional listening sessions were held, including one in Delaware. Through the TCI, environment, transportation, and energy agencies in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C., are working collaboratively toward regional policies and initiatives to improve transportation and address greenhouse gas pollution.

Recently, the Sierra Club partnered with states and other groups including the Union of Concerned Scientists to deliver petitions in support of clean transportation solutions to governors in each of the states. Your Delaware Sierra Club Chapter successfully sought support from Governor Carney to participate in the Regional Transportation and Climate Initiative.

The TCI will create jobs, save lives, and protect our climate. One critical step will be to create a regional program that limits pollution from motor fuels while generating new funds for clean transportation investments. This program should include dedicated funding for projects that will improve transportation for communities who have been overburdened by pollution and underserved by our current system.  For background on RGGI and the TCI, see the Proposal to Reduce Carbon Emissions from Transportation in the Northeast.

Delawareans and others across the region want more access to electric vehicles, better transit, and safer communities for walking and biking. Time is running out and we can’t wait any longer.

Delaware Clean Cities Coalition

The Delaware Clean Cities Coalition helps Delaware residents, businesses, and fleet operators work together to reduce the use of petroleum, develop regional economic opportunities, and improve air quality. The Coalition is housed within the DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy.  Your Delaware Chapter serves on this coalition.  For more information go to: DE Clean Cities.