• 01-05-2009 | 04:00 PM
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Marten Law Group: Renewable Portfolio Standards Drive Market for Alternative Energy

In this Expert Commentary, Alyssa Moir of the Marten Law Group discusses Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs), which mandate that utilities replace some portion of their hydrocarbon-based electricity with clean power sources. Along with explaining how RPSs are driving the market for alternative energy, Ms. Moir reviews the choices to be made as Congress considers a federal RPS.

“An RPS is intended to spur the development of new renewable power sources and technologies,” Ms. Moir writes.  “In the process the hope is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants associated with burning hydrocarbons, reduce reliance on foreign sources of oil and gas, and create new jobs through home-grown energy sources. Key issues in designing an RPS include defining qualified renewable energy resources, compliance benchmarks and deadlines, and penalties for noncompliance. . . .

“While a variety of state RPS programs exist, certain trends have emerged. Generally, all state RPS programs require qualifying utilities to gradually increase the amount of renewable energy in their supply of electricity provided to consumers and to set a series of yearly targets that dictate the renewable percentage of the utilities electricity mix. . . . As RPS programs have expanded in number and evolved, states have aimed for increasingly higher levels of renewables. . . .”

Ms. Moir provides a sampling of state RPSs, and talks about the possibility of a federal RPS.

“While the Senate included a federal RPS in its version of energy legislation in 2007, as it had previously, the proposal remained too controversial, and ultimately was not included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. However, because Congress gave it recent serious consideration and because it is part of the President-elect’s New Energy platform, a federal RPS seems more likely to gain traction next year,” Ms. Moir writes.

Subscribers to www.Lexis.com may read much more about this subject by purchasing Ms. Moir’s entire expert commentary at Marten Law Group: Renewable Portfolio Standards Drive Market for Alternative Energy.