Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)  

The RPS EDGE™
The single, best application for searching and comparing RPS program data.

In design and impact, Renewable Portfolio Standards are not created equal. With over 50 characteristics on which programs can differ, the implications for policy makers, utilities, customers, developers, and the environment are substantial.  The RPS EDGE™ is a web-based application that assists in quickly and easily making sense of the volumes of data associated with state RPS programs.  Users can access up-to-date, comprehensive RPS data in a standardized form, as well as execute customized search and/or comparison queries, to rapidly access and assess specific program characteristics and targets. Save time and effort with RPS information at your fingertips.

  Standard: Mandatory RPS   Goals: State Renewable Goal
 

The RPS Edge™ key tools:

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What are Renewable Portfolio Standards? Return to top of page

Overview: A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), alternately known as a Renewable Electricity Standard or a Renewable Energy Standard, places an obligation on electricity supply companies to source a specified proportion of their electricity sales from eligible renewable energy sources.

Aim: The aim of RPS programs is to promote the development of renewable generation technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, landfill gas, and others. Despite technological improvements and expanding economies of scale, the renewable power industry, absent outside support, has difficulty competing economically with conventional power sources such as coal and natural gas fired plants. By obliging energy supply companies to source a given percentage of their sales from renewable sources, a market demand for that power is enhanced or created.

Mechanism: Each RPS program is different. The prevailing mechanism for achieving the above Aim is for the state to require electricity suppliers to acquire certain minimum amounts of renewable energy certificates (RECs). RECs are acquired from qualified renewable energy producers and demonstrate that the supplier has sourced an appropriate amount of electricity from renewable sources, per state regulation. These certificates are subsequently submitted to the relevant state body as proof of purchase of renewable power. If the energy supply company fails to produce sufficient certificates, it may be subject to penalties or an alternative compliance payment (ACP). The specifics of the compliance mechanisms vary widely among state programs.

Adoption: In the United States, 30 states (including D.C.) currently (as of March 2009) have mandatory renewable portfolio standards and a further 6 have renewable portfolio goals. Furthermore, draft legislation currently exists for a federal renewable portfolio standard which will likely pass congress later in 2009. The passage of federal RPS, though, is unlikely to pre-empt or override state programs already in place given the complexity of the programs and state-specific considerations.

Why The RPS Edge™ Return to top of page

MJB developed The RPS Edge™ to meet a clear client need for an up-to-date, standardized, searchable and comparable RPS resource. The RPS Edge™ is the only application that enables users to quickly identify, search, compare and/or analyze the key characteristics and parameters of one or more state programs. Advanced analysis and reporting tools mean that users can generate output that suit their specific needs and not have to sift through volumes of unrelated data. The result is substantial time saving on the part of all users, but particularly for those who regularly return for up-to-date and accurate information.

Up-to-date Information: MJB staff regularly contact state utility commissions' staff and industry sources to gather the most up-to-date program data. The RPS Edge™ database is updated regularly to ensure that the data provided to users accurately reflects program developments and status.

Standard Format: Each state RPS program is different, in program characteristics, targets, language, scope and impact. It can be extremely time consuming — and frustrating — to read through paragraphs of descriptive text to find the key, relevant points of the RPS program in question. Information in The RPS Edge™ is presented in standard, easy to read formats that allow the user to save significant time and effort in identifying and analyzing the key characteristics of a state's program, as well in comparing characteristics of multiple states' programs.

Advanced Reporting: Advanced search, comparison and reporting tools allow the user to quickly generate specific results and detailed reports for a particular state or program characteristic. For more specific needs, the comparison report feature enables user-tailored reports for selected states, program targets and characteristics.

The result is accurate, up-to-date information in a in a form that suits your needs and saves time and effort.

Information in The RPS Edge™ Return to top of page

The RPS Edge™ is a compendium of critical information on all state RPS programs. The information is presented in a variety of standardized forms so users can quickly evaluate a specific state program, compare multiple characteristics of multiple programs, and/or query specific state program characteristics. For users that demand even more detail, links to program legislation and contact details for regulatory agencies are included.

Key Tools Return to top of page

The RPS Edge™ provides the following tools for users to quickly and easily find and digest critical information on state RPS programs:

  Easy to generate, pre-formatted reports containing comprehensive state-level RPS program detail. Useful to quickly and easily obtain and absorb program summaries in a standard format. Click here for a sample excerpt.

 

 There are 13 pre-formatted reports in a variety of key program areas that lets the user quickly obtain comparative program data in an easy to read and understandable format. Click here for a sample excerpt.

 

 Comparing state programs across specific RPS program design parameters can be a time consuming exercise (e.g., "What are the targets, penalties, and solar set asides for New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and California?). The RPS EDGE™ can provide those answers in seconds, saving significant amounts of time. Click here for a sample excerpt.

 

  Given the complexity of the state programs and their many differences, it can be difficult to answer even simple questions, e.g., "Do any states include nuclear technology in their program?" (Yes, but only one. Pennsylvania.) The RPS EDGE™ provides the ability to search for states with particular program characteristics, which can be enormously useful in analyzing how states compare along specific program design elements. Users can search on over 30 separate characteristics. Click here for a sample excerpt.

 

 Along with the ability to search for states with specific program characteristics, The RPS EDGE™ also provides the capability to search for states that have specific program or set aside targets. For example, the ability to identify which states have a renewable target of 20% by 2020, or which states have solar set asides that exceed 5% by 2015, is just a few clicks away. Click here for a sample excerpt.

 

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