Renewable Portfolio Standards

Date: 30 Jan 2012 | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) ensures that a minimum amount of renewable energy is included in the portfolio of electricity resources serving a state or country, and — by increasing the required amount over time — the RPS can put the electricity industry on a path toward increasing sustainability. Portfolio standards have been primarily a result of state-based electric restructuring efforts but some regulated states enacted renewable energy mandates in the 1990’s – most notably Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.  Those have evolved into state RPS policies over time.

None of the exisiting RPS rules is the clear winner as the best or model rule. Arizona’s most recent iteration of an RPS has a special provision that requires onsite generation to provide 30 percent of the energy required under the RPS. Nevada’s RPS has an interesting provision designed to take advantage of their most available renewable resource – the sun – we like that built-in local flavor aspect of an RPS. Some states have substantial percentage goals of 20 percent or more – we like those agressive strategies.

We feel that the following conditions should be met when installing a Renewable Portfolio Standard.

New Rules Project’s RPS Criteria:

  1. A good RPS will lead to an absolute annual increase in renewable energy generating capacity.
  2. Over time a good RPS will lead to an increase of installed renewable energy capacity on a per capita basis.
  3. Qualifying facilities under an RPS should NOT include waste-to-energy facilities (incinerators) or high-head hydopower resources.

Please Note: We are not listing information on all the RPS rules that have been enacted across the country. Some of them are similar to each other and/or weaker than those we have listed. Below you will find a representative sampling of the most interesting of the bunch. For a complete listing of states with RPS laws, we suggest this page at UCS or this page at DSIRE