CEG and CESA Release Two New Reports on RPS Progress in Northeast and Mid Atlantic Region

Clean Energy Group (CEG) and Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) are pleased to announce the release of two new reports that address the early progress of states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region in meeting state renewable portfolio standards (RPS).

Both reports can be downloaded for free.

These states have been among the national leaders in the effort to increase the amount of renewable energy capacity in the U.S. through use of RPS policies. With financial support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Association of State Energy Officials, and CESA, RPS managers from 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participated in an 18-month “Collaborative” forum, facilitated by CESA, to share information and pursue targeted opportunities for regional cooperation on RPS implementation. As part of the initiative, the Collaborative participants commissioned two reports to evaluate RPS results in the region and to offer recommendations for future success.

The first report, Progress Report: Review of State RPS Programs in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions (Exeter Associates & CESA), provides the early results of the region’s RPS programs in meeting renewable energy targets, including the amount and types of renewable generation occurring in each of the participating states. The report also provides observations on the various factors affecting RPS effectiveness and identifies program design innovations occurring in the region. Among the report’s findings:

  • Overall, there has been approximately 1100 Megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity added between 1998 through 2007 in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region. Capacity additions have accelerated in recent years and are trending upward.
  • To date, the region’s RPS programs have largely benefited landfill gas, wind, and hydropower. Wind and landfill gas experienced the largest increase in growth since the advent of the RPS in the region.
  • Customer-sited and small commercial solar PV facilities stand to benefit significantly from RPS policies going forward as a result of substantial technology specific set-asides in six of the region’s states.

The second report, Increasing Coordination and Uniformity Among State Renewable Portfolio Standards (Edward A. Holt & CESA), examines strategies to increase uniformity and reciprocity between state RPS programs to advance a more robust regional REC market. The analysis evaluates RPS-related market barriers created by the varying RPS program designs and opportunities for increased interstate cooperation. The report identifies approaches that states can take to advance interstate cooperation and compatibility in RPS programs, including the merits of such mechanisms as agreements on RPS reciprocity and development of regional market frameworks to advance REC trading. The report found that greater integration of state RPS programs should lead to expansion of the REC market, spurring development of more renewable energy projects at lower cost.

The report also includes “Model Resource Eligibility Definitions”, developed by the Collaborative for consideration by policy makers. While there is no single, ideal way to define eligible RPS resources, there is merit in establishing some clear, common definitions of renewable resources for states to consider as RPS programs evolve. Increased uniformity among state RPS resource eligibility definitions could help to increase market efficiency and liquidity.

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