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Title: Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Renewables Portfolio Standards:A Comparative Analysis of State-Level Policy Impact Projections

Abstract

State renewables portfolio standards (RPS) have emerged as one of the most important policy drivers of renewable energy capacity expansion in the U.S. Collectively, these policies now apply to roughly 40% of U.S. electricity load, and may have substantial impacts on electricity markets, ratepayers, and local economies. 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 projecting cost impacts, but sometimes also estimating macroeconomic and environmental effects. This report synthesizes and analyzes the results and methodologies of 28 distinct state or utility-level RPS cost impact analyses completed since 1998. Together, these studies model proposed or adopted RPS policies in 18 different states. We highlight the key findings of these studies on the costs and benefits of RPS policies, examine the sensitivity of projected costs to model assumptions, assess the attributes of different modeling approaches, and suggest possible areas of improvement for future RPS analysis.

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley NationalLaboratory, Berkeley, CA (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE. Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency andRenewable Energy. Office of Wind and Hydropower Technology Program,Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. Permitting sitingand Analysis Division
OSTI Identifier:
901521
Report Number(s):
LBNL-61580
R&D Project: 574617; BnR: EB2502010; TRN: US200714%%243
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29; CAPACITY; ELECTRICITY; ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS; FOCUSING; SENSITIVITY; SIMULATION

Citation Formats

Chen, Cliff, Wiser, Ryan, and Bolinger, Mark. Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Renewables Portfolio Standards:A Comparative Analysis of State-Level Policy Impact Projections. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.2172/901521.
Chen, Cliff, Wiser, Ryan, & Bolinger, Mark. Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Renewables Portfolio Standards:A Comparative Analysis of State-Level Policy Impact Projections. United States. doi:10.2172/901521.
Chen, Cliff, Wiser, Ryan, and Bolinger, Mark. Tue . "Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Renewables Portfolio Standards:A Comparative Analysis of State-Level Policy Impact Projections". United States. doi:10.2172/901521. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/901521.
@article{osti_901521,
title = {Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Renewables Portfolio Standards:A Comparative Analysis of State-Level Policy Impact Projections},
author = {Chen, Cliff and Wiser, Ryan and Bolinger, Mark},
abstractNote = {State renewables portfolio standards (RPS) have emerged as one of the most important policy drivers of renewable energy capacity expansion in the U.S. Collectively, these policies now apply to roughly 40% of U.S. electricity load, and may have substantial impacts on electricity markets, ratepayers, and local economies. 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 projecting cost impacts, but sometimes also estimating macroeconomic and environmental effects. This report synthesizes and analyzes the results and methodologies of 28 distinct state or utility-level RPS cost impact analyses completed since 1998. Together, these studies model proposed or adopted RPS policies in 18 different states. We highlight the key findings of these studies on the costs and benefits of RPS policies, examine the sensitivity of projected costs to model assumptions, assess the attributes of different modeling approaches, and suggest possible areas of improvement for future RPS analysis.},
doi = {10.2172/901521},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Jan 16 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Tue Jan 16 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}

Technical Report:

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  • 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
  • This report evaluates the future costs, benefits, and other impacts of renewable energy used to meet current state renewable portfolio standards (RPSs). It also examines a future scenario where RPSs are expanded. The analysis examines changes in electric system costs and retail electricity prices, which include all fixed and operating costs, including capital costs for all renewable, non-renewable, and supporting (e.g., transmission and storage) electric sector infrastructure; fossil fuel, uranium, and biomass fuel costs; and plant operations and maintenance expenditures. The analysis evaluates three specific benefits: air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and water use. It also analyzes two other impacts,more » renewable energy workforce and economic development, and natural gas price suppression. This analysis finds that the benefits or renewable energy used to meet RPS polices exceed the costs, even when considering the highest cost and lowest benefit outcomes.« less
  • As states have gained experience with renewable portfolio standards (RPS) policies, many have made significant revisions to existing programs. In 2015 and 2016, seven states raised and extended their final RPS targets, while another state enacted a new RPS policy (Barbose 2016b). Interest in expanding and strengthening state RPS programs may continue, while efforts like recent proposals in many states to repeal or freeze existing RPS policies may also persist. In either context, questions about the potential costs, benefits, and other impacts of RPS programs are usually central to the decision-making process. This report follows on previous analyses that havemore » focused on the historical costs, benefits, and other impacts of existing state RPS programs (Heeter et al. 2014; Wiser et al. 2016a). This report examines RPS outcomes prospectively, considering both current RPS policies as well as a potential expansion of those policies. The goal of this work is to provide a consistent and independent analytical methodology for that examination. This analysis relies on National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) model to estimate changes to the U.S. electric power sector across a number of scenarios and sensitivity cases, focusing on the 2015–2050 timeframe. Based on those modeled results, we evaluate the costs, benefits, and other impacts of renewable energy contributing to RPS compliance using the suite of methods employed in a number of recent studies sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): a report examining retrospective benefits and impacts of RPS programs (Wiser et al. 2016a), the Wind Vision report (DOE 2015), the On the Path to SunShot report focusing on environmental benefits (Wiser et al. 2016b), and the Hydropower Vision report (DOE 2016).« less
  • This is the third in a series of reports exploring the costs, benefits, and other impacts of state renewable portfolio standards (RPS). This report evaluates the effects of renewable electricity used to meet aggregate RPS demand growth prospectively, over the period 2015-2050, under both current RPS policies as well as a potential expansion of those policies. Relying on a well-vetted suite of methods, the report quantifies: the costs to the electric system and retail electricity price impacts; the potential societal benefits associated with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution emissions, and water use; workforce requirements and economic development effects; andmore » consumer savings associated with reduced natural gas prices. The study quantifies these effects in both physical and monetary terms, where possible, at both national and regional levels, and characterizes key uncertainties. The two prior studies in the series have focused, instead, on the historical costs and on the historical benefits and impacts of state RPS policies.« less
  • State renewables portfolio standards (RPS) have emerged as one of the most important policy drivers of renewable energy capacity expansion in the U.S. Collectively, these policies now apply to almost 40% of U.S. electricity load, and may have substantial impacts on electricity markets, ratepayers, and local economies. 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 projecting cost impacts, but sometimes also estimating macroeconomic and environmental effects. This report synthesizes and analyzes the results and methodologies ofmore » twenty-six distinct state or utility-level RPS cost impact analyses completed since 1998 (see Figure 1 and Appendix for a complete list of the studies). Together, these studies model proposed or adopted RPS policies in seventeen different states. We highlight the key findings of these studies on the costs and benefits of RPS policies, examine the sensitivity of projected costs to model assumptions, assess the attributes of different modeling approaches, and suggest possible areas of improvement for future RPS analysis.« less