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Title: Assessing the costs and benefits of US renewable portfolio standards

Abstract

In this study, renewable portfolio standards (RPS) exist in 29 US states and the District of Columbia. This article summarizes the first national-level, integrated assessment of the future costs and benefits of existing RPS policies; the same metrics are evaluated under a second scenario in which widespread expansion of these policies is assumed to occur. Depending on assumptions about renewable energy technology advancement and natural gas prices, existing RPS policies increase electric system costs by as much as 31 billion dollars, on a present-value basis over 2015-2050. The expanded renewable deployment scenario yields incremental costs that range from 23 billion to 194 billion dollars, depending on the assumptions employed. The monetized value of improved air quality and reduced climate damages exceed these costs. Using central assumptions, existing RPS policies yield 97 billion dollars in air-pollution health benefits and 161 billion dollars in climate damage reductions. Under the expanded RPS case, health benefits total 558 billion dollars and climate benefits equal 599 billion dollars. These scenarios also yield benefits in the form of reduced water use. RPS programs are not likely to represent the most cost effective path towards achieving air quality and climate benefits. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that USmore » RPS programs are, on a national basis, cost effective when considering externalities.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Office of Strategic Programs; USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1394683
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-6A20-70355
Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326; TRN: US1702894
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308; AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Published Article
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 12; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
Publisher:
IOP Publishing
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; assessment; renewable energy; solar power; wind power; renewable portfolio standards

Citation Formats

Wiser, Ryan, Mai, Trieu T., Millstein, Dev, Barbose, Galen, Bird, Lori A., Heeter, Jenny S., Keyser, David J., Krishnan, Venkat K., and Macknick, Jordan E.. Assessing the costs and benefits of US renewable portfolio standards. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa87bd.
Wiser, Ryan, Mai, Trieu T., Millstein, Dev, Barbose, Galen, Bird, Lori A., Heeter, Jenny S., Keyser, David J., Krishnan, Venkat K., & Macknick, Jordan E.. Assessing the costs and benefits of US renewable portfolio standards. United States. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa87bd.
Wiser, Ryan, Mai, Trieu T., Millstein, Dev, Barbose, Galen, Bird, Lori A., Heeter, Jenny S., Keyser, David J., Krishnan, Venkat K., and Macknick, Jordan E.. 2017. "Assessing the costs and benefits of US renewable portfolio standards". United States. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa87bd.
@article{osti_1394683,
title = {Assessing the costs and benefits of US renewable portfolio standards},
author = {Wiser, Ryan and Mai, Trieu T. and Millstein, Dev and Barbose, Galen and Bird, Lori A. and Heeter, Jenny S. and Keyser, David J. and Krishnan, Venkat K. and Macknick, Jordan E.},
abstractNote = {In this study, renewable portfolio standards (RPS) exist in 29 US states and the District of Columbia. This article summarizes the first national-level, integrated assessment of the future costs and benefits of existing RPS policies; the same metrics are evaluated under a second scenario in which widespread expansion of these policies is assumed to occur. Depending on assumptions about renewable energy technology advancement and natural gas prices, existing RPS policies increase electric system costs by as much as 31 billion dollars, on a present-value basis over 2015-2050. The expanded renewable deployment scenario yields incremental costs that range from 23 billion to 194 billion dollars, depending on the assumptions employed. The monetized value of improved air quality and reduced climate damages exceed these costs. Using central assumptions, existing RPS policies yield 97 billion dollars in air-pollution health benefits and 161 billion dollars in climate damage reductions. Under the expanded RPS case, health benefits total 558 billion dollars and climate benefits equal 599 billion dollars. These scenarios also yield benefits in the form of reduced water use. RPS programs are not likely to represent the most cost effective path towards achieving air quality and climate benefits. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that US RPS programs are, on a national basis, cost effective when considering externalities.},
doi = {10.1088/1748-9326/aa87bd},
journal = {Environmental Research Letters},
number = 9,
volume = 12,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 9
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1088/1748-9326/aa87bd

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  • In this study, renewable portfolio standards (RPS) exist in 29 US states and the District of Columbia. This article summarizes the first national-level, integrated assessment of the future costs and benefits of existing RPS policies; the same metrics are evaluated under a second scenario in which widespread expansion of these policies is assumed to occur. Depending on assumptions about renewable energy technology advancement and natural gas prices, existing RPS policies increase electric system costs by as much as 31 billion dollars, on a present-value basis over 2015-2050. The expanded renewable deployment scenario yields incremental costs that range from 23 billionmore » to 194 billion dollars, depending on the assumptions employed. The monetized value of improved air quality and reduced climate damages exceed these costs. Using central assumptions, existing RPS policies yield 97 billion dollars in air-pollution health benefits and 161 billion dollars in climate damage reductions. Under the expanded RPS case, health benefits total 558 billion dollars and climate benefits equal 599 billion dollars. These scenarios also yield benefits in the form of reduced water use. RPS programs are not likely to represent the most cost effective path towards achieving air quality and climate benefits. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that US RPS programs are, on a national basis, cost effective when considering externalities.« less
  • Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) exist in 29 US states and the District of Columbia. This article summarizes the first national-level, integrated assessment of the future costs and benefits of existing RPS policies; the same metrics are evaluated under a second scenario in which widespread expansion of these policies is assumed to occur. Depending on assumptions about renewable energy technology advancement and natural gas prices, existing RPS policies increase electric system costs by as much as $31 billion, on a present-value basis over 2015-2050. The expanded renewable deployment scenario yields incremental costs that range from $23 billion to $194 billion, dependingmore » on the assumptions employed. The monetized value of improved air quality and reduced climate damages exceed these costs. Using central assumptions, existing RPS policies yield $97 billion in air-pollution health benefits and $161 billion in climate damage reductions. Under the expanded RPS case, health benefits total $558 billion and climate benefits equal $599 billion. These scenarios also yield benefits in the form of reduced water use. RPS programs are not likely to represent the most cost effective path towards achieving air quality and climate benefits. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that US RPS programs are, on a national basis, cost effective when considering externalities.« less
  • 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. Furthermore » 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.« less
  • Cited by 1
  • State renewables portfolio standards (RPS) have emerged as one of the most important policy drivers of renewable energy capacity expansion in the U.S. As RPS policies have been proposed or adopted in an increasing number of states, a growing number of studies have attempted to quantify the potential impacts of these policies, focusing primarily on cost impacts, but sometimes also estimating macroeconomic, risk reduction, and environmental effects. This article synthesizes and analyzes the results and methodologies of 31 distinct state or utility-level RPS cost-impact analyses completed since 1998. Together, these studies model proposed or adopted RPS policies in 20 differentmore » states. We highlight the key findings of these studies on the projected costs of state RPS policies, examine the sensitivity of projected costs to model assumptions, evaluate the reasonableness of key input assumptions, and suggest possible areas of improvement for future RPS analyses. We conclude that while there is considerable uncertainty in the study results, the majority of the studies project modest cost impacts. Seventy percent of the state RPS cost studies project retail electricity rate increases of no greater than one percent. Nonetheless, there is considerable room for improving the analytic methods, and therefore accuracy, of these estimates.« less