Advertisement

Evaluating Experience with Renewables Portfolio Standards in the United States

  • Ryan Wiser
  • Kevin Porter
  • Robert Grace
Article

Abstract

Increased use of renewable energy is one of several promising methods for reducing emissions of local, regional, and global air pollutants, including greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil-fuel based electricity production. Among the available options for encouraging renewable electricity generation, the renewables portfolio standard (RPS) has become especially popular in recent years. The RPS is a newly established policy mechanism, however, and experience with its use has not been widely documented and evaluated. This paper describes and evaluates the design, impacts, and early experience of 13 U.S. state RPS policies. These 13 policies share a common goal of encouraging renewable energy supply, but each specific RPS is designed differently. Our evaluation shows both successes and failures with this policy mechanism; some state RPS policies are positively impacting renewable energy development, while others have been poorly designed and will do little to advance renewable energy markets.We emphasize the importance of policy design details, and specifically highlight critical design pitfalls that have been commonly experienced. Though experience with the RPS is still limited, we have now gained some knowledge of the conditions and design features necessary to make an RPS policy work. An important objective of this article is therefore to identify and describe broad policy design principles and specific best practice design elements that might be used to guide the design of future renewables portfolio standards.

Keywords

energy policy policy evaluation renewable energy renewables portfolio standard wind power 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Berry, T. and Jaccard, M.: 2001, ‘The renewable portfolio standard: Design considerations and an implementation survey’, Energy Policy 29, 263–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boots, M.: 2003, ‘Green certificates and carbon trading in the Netherlands’, Energy Policy 31, 43–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chupka, M.: 2003, ‘Designing effective renewable markets’, The Electricity Journal May, 46–57.Google Scholar
  4. Clemmer, S., Nogee, A. and Brower, M.: 1999, A Powerful Opportunity: Making Renewable Electricity the Standard, Cambridge, MA, Union of Concerned Scientists.Google Scholar
  5. Deyette, J., Clemmer, S. and Donovan, D.: 2003, Plugging in Renewable Energy: Grading the States, Cambridge, MA, Union of Concerned Scientists.Google Scholar
  6. Espey, S.: 2001, ‘Renewables portfolio standard: A means for trade with electricity from renewable energy sources?’, Energy Policy 29, 557–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fristrup, P.: 2003, ‘Some challenges related to introducing tradable green certificates’, Energy Policy 31, 15–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grace, R. and Wiser, R.: 2003, Crafting a Renewables Portfolio Standard for Rhode Island: Design Choices, Best Practices, and Recommendations, Natick, MA, Prepared for the Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Action Energy Supply & Solid Waste Working Group’s RPS Working Group.Google Scholar
  9. Grace, R., Abbanat, B. and Wiser, R.: 2000, RPS Accounting and Verification Mechanisms and Policy Coordination Report, Natick, MA, Prepared for the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources.Google Scholar
  10. Haddad, B. and Jefferiss, P.: 1999, ‘Forging consensus on national renewables policy: The renewables portfolio standard and the national public benefits trust fund’, The Electricity Journal 12, 68–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Huber, C., Haas, R., Faber, T., Resch, G., Green, J., Twidell, J., Ruijgrok, W. and Erge, T.: 2001, Action Plan for a Green European Electricity Market. Prepared within the Project ‘ElGreen’, Austria, European Commission.Google Scholar
  12. Hvelplund, F.: 2001, ‘Political prices or political quantities? A comparison of renewable energy support systems’, New Energy 5, 18–23.Google Scholar
  13. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): 2001, Climate Change 2001: Mitigation, Contribution of Working Group III to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Lemming, J.: 2003, ‘Financial risks for green electricity investors and producers in a tradable green certificate market’, Energy Policy 31, 21–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lorenzoni, A.: 2003, ‘The Italian green certificates market between uncertainty and opportunities’, Energy Policy 31, 33–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Menanteau, P., Finon, D. and Lamy, M.: 2003, ‘Prices versus quantities: Choosing policies for promoting the development of renewable energy’, Energy Policy 31, 799–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Meyer, N.: 2003, ‘European schemes for promoting renewables in liberalized markets’, Energy Policy 31, 665–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Meyer, N. and Koefoed, A.: 2003, ‘Danish energy reform: Policy implications for renewables’, Energy Policy 31, 597–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Morthorst, P.: 2000, ‘The development of a green certificate market’, Energy Policy 29, 1085–1094.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Morthorst, P.: 2001, ‘Interactions of a tradable green certificate market with a tradable permits market’, Energy Policy 29, 345–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morthorst, P.: 2003, ‘National environmental targets and international emission reduction instruments’, Energy Policy 31, 73–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nielsen, L. and Jeppesen, T.: 2003, ‘Tradable green certificates in selected European countries – Overview and assessment’, Energy Policy 31, 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rader, N.: 2000, ‘The hazards of implementing renewables portfolio standards’, Energy and Environment 11, 391–405.Google Scholar
  24. Rader, N. and Hempling, S.: 2001, The Renewables Portfolio Standard: A Practical Guide, Washington, D.C., National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.Google Scholar
  25. Rader, N. and Norgaard, R.: 1996, ‘Efficiency and sustainability in restructured electricity markets: The renewables portfolio standard’, The Electricity Journal 9, 37–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schaeffer, G., Boots, M., Mitchell, C., Anderson, T., Timpe, C. and Cames, M.: 2000, Options for Design of Tradable Green Certificate Systems, ECN-C-00-032, Netherlands, Energy Research Center of the Netherlands.Google Scholar
  27. Sijm, J.: 2003, The Performance of Feed-in Tariffs to Promote Renewable Electricity in European Countries, ECN-C-02-083, Netherlands, Energy Research Center of the Netherlands.Google Scholar
  28. Springer, U.: 2003, ‘The market for tradable GHG permits under the Kyoto Protocol: A survey of model studies’, Energy Economics 25, 527–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Verbruggen, A.: 2004, ‘Tradable green certificates in Flanders (Belgium)’, Energy Policy 32, 165–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wiser, R., Pickle, S. and Goldman, C.: 1997, ‘Renewable energy and restructuring: Policy solutions to the policy dilemma’, The Electricity Journal December, 65–75.Google Scholar
  31. Wiser, R. and Langniss, O.: 2001, The Renewables Portfolio Standard in Texas: An Early Assessment, LBNL-49107, Berkeley, CA, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.Google Scholar
  32. Wiser, R., Porter, K., Grace, R. and Kappel, C.: 2003, Evaluating State Renewables Portfolio Standards: A Focus on Geothermal Energy, Prepared for the National Geothermal Collaborative.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Exeter Associates, Inc.ColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Sustainable Energy Advantage, LLCNatickUSA
  3. 3.Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations