CESA Report: The State of State Renewable Portfolio Standards

June 28, 2013

by Warren Leon, Executive Director, CESA

This new report, titled The State of State RPSs, analyzes state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) laws as a policy mechanism, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and assessing their impact on the growing national renewable energy market. The report, which was made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Energy Foundation and is a product of CESA’s State-Federal RPS Collaborative, highlights several key achievements of RPS policies, including: • State RPSs face some significant challenges, but the RPS as a policy mechanism has proven to be sufficiently flexible and adaptable. Policymakers will likely be able to adjust RPSs as necessary to keep them relevant. • RPSs have proven to be popular with the public and are helping to diversify the electricity supply while reducing the environmental impacts of energy use, all at a manageable cost. • One of the key strengths of an RPS is that it establishes a long-term direction that can create policy stability while still allowing for flexibility. The report discusses five current challenges that could threaten the ability of RPSs to continue to be successful. It also recommends two steps states may take to increase the effectiveness of their RPS laws.