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The Future of the Renewable Portfolio Standard

The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a policy which was passed in the late ’90s and early 2000s, mandates that states require a certain minimum of renewable energy be included in the composition of the standard electricity supply.  Currently, RPS policies are in effect in 29 states and Washington, D.C., accounting for 54 percent of total U.S. retail electricity sales.

However, the RPS has long received mixed reviews from economists who aren’t convinced that the environmental benefits outweigh the costs associated with maintaining this policy going forward.  Now, the first wave of RPS mandates will be reaching its target date, forcing officials to decide whether to continue onward with their state’s RPS initiatives or, instead, bid the policy adieu.

States such as California, Hawaii and Vermont have revised their RPSs to extend targets to 2030 and beyond, while many other states have extended to only 2020 or 2025.  In effect, the benefits of RPS outweigh the costs and, as such, more states should look to extend this sustainable mandate.  Full story.

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