ORIGINAL REPORTING: Modernizing renewables mandates
Modernizing renewables mandates is no longer about the megawatts; Some states are increasing renewables mandates, but others are reinventing the concept
Herman K. Trabish | Aug. 16, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The discussion about evolving the design of state mandates has quieted since the current president took office.
State mandates, called renewable portfolio standards (RPS), set a standard for the renewable MWs that state load serving entities (LSE) must have in their portfolios by a specified date. RPSs, mandated in D.C. and 29 states, are at least partially responsible for 56% of the 120 GW of renewables built since 2000, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). RPSs were conceived as a means to drive the market for renewables to achieve policy goals like reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and increasing power system reliability through resource diversity. As the supply of renewables has expanded, ideas like Massachusetts' Clean Energy Standard (CES) and Arizona's Clean Peak Standard (CPS) are gaining momentum as policymakers come to understand the need for ways to evolve the RPS concept.
"The premise that every kWh of renewables will reduce greenhouse gas emissions is just incorrect," V. John White, executive director for the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, told Utility Dive. The power system is being transformed from reliance on coal and nuclear generation to reliance on natural gas and utility-scale renewables. That transformation is driven primarily by low natural gas and renewables prices, but the mandates that drove renewables prices down are, despite their success, being reconsidered. For example, while California has 11.4 GW of solar and 6.3 GW of wind, the state's goal to "just build MWs" should shift focus to servicing the grid and meeting the state's climate goals, White said. The RPS concept has succeeded but its future may be as a Clean Energy Standard (CES) or a Clean Peak Standard (CPS)… click here for more
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