States Will Need 50% Rise in Renewable Energy Use to Meet Set Standards

Meeting renewable portfolio standards (RPS) demand growth will require roughly a 50% increase in U.S. renewable electricity (RE) generation by 2030, according to the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The report states that to meet future RPS demand, total U.S. RE generation will need to reach 13% of electricity sales by 2030 (compared to 10% today), though other drivers will also continue to influence RE growth.

“I think that the industry is quite capable of meeting that objective cost-competitively and, actually, then some,” said Todd Foley, senior vice president of policy and government affairs at the American Council on Renewable Energy, on insideclimatenew.org.

According to the Berkeley Lab’s annual report, significant RPS-related policy revisions since the start of 2016 include increased RPS targets in Washington, DC, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island and Oregon; requirements for new wind and solar projects and other major reforms to the RPS procurement process in Illinois; and a new offshore wind carve-out and solar procurement program in MA.

Roughly half of all growth in U.S. RE generation and capacity since 2000 is associated with state RPS requirements. Nationally, the role of RPS policies has diminished over time, representing 44% of all U.S. RE capacity additions in 2016. However, within particular regions, RPS policies continue to play a central role in supporting RE growth, constituting 70-90% of 2016 RE capacity additions in the West, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

The Berkeley Lab continuously publishes reports related to sustainability and renewable energy. In January, the organization issued a report saying the effects of distributed solar on retail electricity prices are, and will continue to be, relatively insignificant compared to many other electricity-price drivers, such as utility capital investments.

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