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

Abstract

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.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Strategic Programs Office
OSTI Identifier:
1275259
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-6A20-66851
Journal ID: ISSN 0301-4215
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Energy Policy; Journal Volume: 96
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; renewable energy; RPS; renewable portfolio standard; greenhouse gas; air pollution; water use

Citation Formats

Barbose, Galen, Wiser, Ryan, Heeter, Jenny, Mai, Trieu, Bird, Lori, Bolinger, Mark, Carpenter, Alberta, Heath, Garvin, Keyser, David, Macknick, Jordan, Mills, Andrew, and Millstein, Dev. A retrospective analysis of benefits and impacts of U.S. renewable portfolio standards. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2016.06.035.
Barbose, Galen, Wiser, Ryan, Heeter, Jenny, Mai, Trieu, Bird, Lori, Bolinger, Mark, Carpenter, Alberta, Heath, Garvin, Keyser, David, Macknick, Jordan, Mills, Andrew, & Millstein, Dev. A retrospective analysis of benefits and impacts of U.S. renewable portfolio standards. United States. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2016.06.035.
Barbose, Galen, Wiser, Ryan, Heeter, Jenny, Mai, Trieu, Bird, Lori, Bolinger, Mark, Carpenter, Alberta, Heath, Garvin, Keyser, David, Macknick, Jordan, Mills, Andrew, and Millstein, Dev. 2016. "A retrospective analysis of benefits and impacts of U.S. renewable portfolio standards". United States. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2016.06.035. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1275259.
@article{osti_1275259,
title = {A retrospective analysis of benefits and impacts of U.S. renewable portfolio standards},
author = {Barbose, Galen and Wiser, Ryan and Heeter, Jenny and Mai, Trieu and Bird, Lori and Bolinger, Mark and Carpenter, Alberta and Heath, Garvin and Keyser, David and Macknick, Jordan and Mills, Andrew and Millstein, Dev},
abstractNote = {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.},
doi = {10.1016/j.enpol.2016.06.035},
journal = {Energy Policy},
number = ,
volume = 96,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}
  • Cited by 1
  • This analysis is the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the benefits and impacts of state renewable portfolio standards (RPSs). This joint National Renewable Energy Laboratory-Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory project provides a retrospective analysis of RPS program benefits and impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions reductions, air pollution emission reductions, water use reductions, gross jobs and economic development impacts, wholesale electricity price reduction impacts, and natural gas price reduction impacts. Wherever possible, benefits and impacts are quantified in monetary terms. The paper will inform state policymakers, RPS program administrators, industry, and others about the costs and benefits of state RPS programs. In particular,more » the work seeks to inform decision-making surrounding ongoing legislative proposals to scale back, freeze, or expand existing RPS programs, as well as future discussions about increasing RPS targets or otherwise increasing renewable energy associated with Clean Power Plan compliance or other emission-reduction goals.« less
  • This analysis is the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the benefits and impacts of state renewable portfolio standards (RPSs). This joint National Renewable Energy Laboratory-Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory project provides a retrospective analysis of RPS program benefits and impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions reductions, air pollution emission reductions, water use reductions, gross jobs and economic development impacts, wholesale electricity price reduction impacts, and natural gas price reduction impacts. Wherever possible, benefits and impacts are quantified in monetary terms. The paper will inform state policymakers, RPS program administrators, industry, and others about the costs and benefits of state RPS programs. In particular,more » the work seeks to inform decision-making surrounding ongoing legislative proposals to scale back, freeze, or expand existing RPS programs, as well as future discussions about increasing RPS targets or otherwise increasing renewable energy associated with Clean Power Plan compliance or other emission-reduction goals.« less
  • This is the second in a series of reports exploring the costs, benefits, and other impacts of state renewable portfolio standards (RPS), both retrospectively and prospectively. This report focuses on the benefits and impacts of all state RPS programs, in aggregate, for the year 2013 (the most-recent year for which the requisite data were available). Relying on a well-vetted set of methods, the study evaluates a number of important benefits and impacts in both physical and monetary terms, where possible, and characterizes key uncertainties. The prior study in this series focused on historical RPS compliance costs, and future work willmore » evaluate costs, benefits, and other impacts of RPS policies prospectively.« less
  • This report, the second in the series, analyzes historical benefits and impacts of all state RPS policies, in aggregate, employing a consistent and well-vetted set of methods and data sets. The analysis focuses on three specific benefits: greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and water use. It also analyzes three other impacts: gross job additions, wholesale electricity market price suppression, and natural gas price suppression. These are an important subset, but by no means a comprehensive set, of all possible effects associated with RPS policies. These benefits and impacts are also subject to many uncertainties, which are described and, to themore » extent possible, quantified within the report.« less