Berkeley Lab Releases Annual Status Report on U.S. Renewable Portfolio Standards

On April 6, 2016, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) published its 2016 Annual Status Report analyzing the state of Renewables Portfolio Standards (RPS) in the U.S.  This most recent report is part of Berkeley Lab’s ongoing efforts to track and analyze state RPS initiatives and policies.  Key highlights from the report include:

  • Recent Legislative Revisions – Between 2015 and April 2016, over 180 RPS-related bills have been introduced.  Most notably, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Vermont have recently implemented new or expanded RPS policies, and efforts to expand RPS in New York State are underway.
  • Historical Impacts on Renewables Development – Over 60% of growth in U.S. renewable electricity generation and 57% of growth in renewable capacity since 2000 is attributable to RPS policies.  Although the majority of RPS-driven capacity growth to date has been wind (64%), solar energy has recently taken the lead, making up 69% of new RPS builds in 2015.
  • Growing RPS Demand – Although 2015 was the terminal year for RPS programs in Michigan, Montana, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, total demand for renewable energy driven by RPS programs is expected to double from 215 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2015 to 431 TWh in 2030.
  • Projected Future Development – RPS programs are expected to drive the addition of 60 gigawatts (GW) of primarily non-hydroelectric renewables capacity by 2030, beyond the 114 GW of capacity installed as of the end of 2015.
  • Achievement of Interim RPS Targets – Attainment has been relatively strong in recent years, with states meeting approximately 95% of interim RPS targets.
  • Increased Compliance Costs – RPS compliance costs totaled approximately $2.6 billion in 2014, or $12 per megawatt-hour of renewable electricity on average, up from $2.1 billion or $11 per megawatt-hour in 2013.
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