skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: A retrospective analysis of benefits and impacts of U.S. renewable portfolio standards

As states consider revising or developing renewable portfolio standards (RPS), they are evaluating policy costs, benefits, and other impacts. We present the first U. S. national-level assessment of state RPS program benefits and impacts, focusing on new renewable electricity resources used to meet RPS compliance obligations in 2013. In our central-case scenario, reductions in life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from displaced fossil fuel-generated electricity resulted in $2.2 billion of global benefits. Health and environmental benefits from reductions in criteria air pollutants (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter 2.5) were even greater, estimated at $5.2 billion in the central case. Further benefits accrued in the form of reductions in water withdrawals and consumption for power generation. Finally, although best considered resource transfers rather than net societal benefits, new renewable electricity generation used for RPS compliance in 2013 also supported nearly 200,000 U. S.-based gross jobs and reduced wholesale electricity prices and natural gas prices, saving consumers a combined $1.3-$4.9 billion. In total, the estimated benefits and impacts well-exceed previous estimates of RPS compliance costs.
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0301-4215
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Energy Policy; Journal Volume: 96
Research Org:
NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Strategic Programs Office
Country of Publication:
United States
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY renewable energy; RPS; renewable portfolio standard; greenhouse gas; air pollution; water use