States’ Experience with RE Highlighted

Developing efficiency and renewable resources will require creative responses to overcome the uncertainty that now cripples electric markets, said the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP).

Washington, D.C. – October 30, 2002 [] While such progress on the federal level may appear uncertain, state initiatives may provide the best opportunities for the near future, said REPP. REPP has developed several tools that they believe can reduce uncertainty, increase understanding, and provide important support for creative state responses. All of these interactive tools are available on the REPP Web site. According to the REPP, states have shown willingness to experiment with new policies. In addition, many states face major energy/environmental challenges. State efforts are complicated, however, by uncertainty as they sort out their response to the push to deregulate electric markets. Despite the uncertainty, said REPP, creative state responses that use already tested policies to respond to major, unresolved challenges could spur development. Through mapping out states’ System Benefit Funds, REPP provides a complete guide to legislation, key contacts, and program reporting requirements for states. In addition, they isolated several states with particularly creative programs in order to provide even more in-depth coverage of those programs. They also extensively cover state-initiated Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). REPP provides guidance for states considering the use of energy efficiency and Renewable Energy offsets to meet NOx emission budget requirements, and provides a hypothetical example illustrating program impacts. Over the past decade, electric market regulation has attempted to respond to calls for dramatic change. The industry has moved from nearly universal acceptance of integrated resource planning to a patchwork of regulation, deregulation and reregulation. While the environmental criteria of electric generation have unquestionably risen in importance, no clear national consensus on how to properly incorporate these criteria has emerged, said REPP. System benefit funds and renewable portfolio standards are tested models. System benefit funds have been successfully introduced in 23 states over the past seven years most often in the context of an overall move to deregulate the electric market in the state. Renewable Portfolio Standards have been introduced in 12 states. While interest in them remains high among advocates, most of the programs were implemented as part of an overall negotiation covering market deregulation. With momentum to deregulation stopped, system benefit funds and renewable portfolio standards face greater challenges in gaining acceptance. The strong connection between environmental mandates – such as the need to reduce NOx emissions – and the ability of efficiency and renewable development to play a role in the curtailment of these pollutants, can support the creation of new system benefit funds. Many states face an urgent requirement to reduce NOx emissions from thermo-electric generation plants. Efficiency and renewables can be among the best methods for reducing NOx emissions and the societal cost of meeting these reductions. REPP believes that tested policies that respond to major new challenges can cut through uncertainty, and lead to major renewable and energy efficiency development.
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