National Renewable Portfolio Standard

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 17:30:00 GMT

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to learn about national renewable electricity portfolio standards such as those that have been introduced in the Senate and are likely to be introduced in the House as part of the climate change legislative package Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) has called for this Fall. A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a market-based mechanism that requires utilities to gradually increase the portion of electricity produced from renewable resources such as wind, biomass, geothermal, solar energy, incremental hydropower and marine energy. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have RPSs, covering 40 percent of the nation’s electrical load. A national RPS has passed the Senate in the last three Congresses, although it is not included in the recent Senate energy bill.

A recent analysis by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) of a national RPS proposed by Senate Energy Committee Chair Bingaman (D-NM) requiring electric utilities to acquire 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, found net consumer cost to increase just 0.3 percent through 2030 compared to the reference case. In April, the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP), which in 2004 published recommendations including a national greenhouse gas “cap-and-trade” program, added a recommendation for a 15 percent RPS to its set of national energy policy recommendations. In June, “Renewing America,” a study by the Network for New Energy Choices, found that a 20 percent by 2020 national RPS could reduce as much carbon dioxide as taking 71 million cars off the nation’s roads and would decrease consumer energy bills by an average of 1.5 percent per year. An article in the May issue of Electricity Journal by Professor Marilyn Brown et al. discusses the value of including energy efficiency along with renewable energy in a national portfolio standard. Our panel includes:

· Leon Lowery, Majority Staff, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

· Chris Namovicz, Operations Research Analyst, Energy Information Administration

· Marilyn Brown, Professor of Energy Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology and Visiting Distinguished Scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

· Richard Glick, Director, Government Affairs, PPM Energy

On February 8, Reps. Tom Udall (D-NM), Todd Platts (R-PA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Mark Udall (D-CO) along with four others introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 969) to establish a federal RPS requiring electric utilities to acquire 20 percent of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2020. “As Congress addresses the many important energy issues facing our country, we must consider the benefits of renewable energy. Establishing a federal renewable portfolio standard will balance a wide range of interests,” Rep. Tom Udall said. “Not only will it help us meet our growing demand for electricity, it will also reduce our exposure to fossil fuel price spikes and supply interruptions, increase economic development in the renewable energy industry, and improve our environment.” H.R. 969 now has 121 cosponsors. On June 28, Rep. DeGette (D-CO) introduced and withdrew a federal RPS amendment (based on H.R. 969) in the Committee on Energy and Commerce markup of Committee prints on energy policy legislation.

This briefing is open to the public and no reservations are required.

For more information, contact Fred Beck at 202-662-1892 (fbeck@eesi.org)

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