Green Racine

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Wind Power

New Study Highlights State Experience in Supporting Renewable Energy
through Increasingly Popular Renewables Portfolio Standards

Berkeley, California (April 9, 2008) -* A growing number of states are
supporting renewable electricity through the creation of renewables
portfolio standards (RPS), according to a report released today by
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The report provides a
comprehensive overview of early experience with these state-level RPS

"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 US," notes
report author Ryan Wiser, of Berkeley Lab. "But, as the popularity and
importance of these RPS' has 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% of U.S. electricity load, and four
new states joined the RPS roster in 2007. "Many of these policies have
been established recently and each is designed differently," says
co-author Galen Barbose, "As a result, experience is decidedly mixed."

Some of the key findings of the study include:

* Over 50% of non-hydro renewable capacity additions in the U.S.
from 1998 through 2007 occurred in states with RPS policies, and
93% of these additions came from wind power
* Existing state RPS policies, if fully achieved, would require
roughly 60 GW of new renewable capacity by 2025, equivalent to 15%
of projected electricity demand growth from 2000 through 2025
* Solar set-asides in state RPS policies are becoming more common,
and these policies have supported over 165 MW of new solar
capacity so far; a total of roughly 6,700 MW of solar capacity
would be needed by 2025 to fully meet these set-asides
* The early-year renewable energy purchase targets in the majority
of state RPS policies have been fully or almost-fully achieved,
with overall average compliance at 94% in 2006
* Nonetheless, a number of states have struggled to meet even their
early-year RPS targets, and many states have been reluctant to
penalize non-compliance
* Renewable energy certificate (REC) tracking systems continue to
expand, and all but four states allow unbundled RECs to count
towards RPS compliance
* The cost of RPS policies varies by state, but in most states,
these programs have, so far, increased electricity rates by 1% or
less; in several states, the renewable electricity required by RPS
policies appears competitive with fossil generation

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.

The report "Renewables Portfolio Standards in the United States: A
Status Report with Data through 2007," can be downloaded from A PowerPoint presentation
summarizing key findings from the study can be found at: For more information on the
report, contact Ryan Wiser (, 510-486-5474).

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