Renewable electricity is being supported by a growing number of states through the creation of renewables portfolio standards (RPS). A report released by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) provides a comprehensive overview of the early experiences with these state-level RPS policies.
“State RPS policies require utilities to buy a certain amount of renewable energy, and these programs have emerged as one of the most important drivers of renewable energy deployment in the U.S.,” notes Ryan Wiser, of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD), who was one of two primary authors for this report. “But, as the popularity and importance of these RPS’s have increased, so too has the need to keep up with the design, early experience, and projected impacts of these programs. Our report is designed to meet that need.”
Collectively, the RPS policies that are in place today in 25 states and Washington D.C., apply to nearly 50-percent of total U.S. electricity load. In addition, four new states joined the RPS roster in 2007.
“Many of these policies have been established recently and each is designed differently,” says Galen Barbose, the report’s other primary author and also a member of Berkeley Lab’s EETD. “As a result, the experience has been decidedly mixed.”
Some of the key findings of the study include:
The market for renewable energy is changing rapidly, and states are increasingly hoping to support that growth. “Given the major role that state RPS policies are playing, we hope that this report will help improve the next generation of these programs,” concludes Wiser.
Berkeley Lab’s contributions to this report were funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and by the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability of the U.S. Department of Energy.
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