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Renewable Energy Policy Initiatives

Existing Demand Policies:

  • Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS): The RFS requires 9 billion gallons of transportation fuel to come from renewable sources by 2012, increasing to 36 billion gallons by 2022 (15 billion gallons can be met from traditional corn ethanol). The EPA must issue final volume and percentage requirements under the RFS every year.
  • Government Procurement: Current law requires federal agencies to increase the percentage of electricity and transportation fuel they consume that is generated from renewable energy resources. The military branches have all established more aggressive targets.

Potential Demand Policies

  • Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS, RES): A RPS at the state level, or RES at the federal level, requires utilities to generate a certain percentage of electricity from renewable energy resources. Currently 29 states plus the District of Columbia have an RPS.  There are legislative proposals to establish a national RES of 25% by 2025.
  • Clean Energy Standard (CES): A CES requires utilities to generate a certain percentage of electricity from clean energy sources, which often are defined to include renewable energy, nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. Senator Bingaman (D-NM) proposed a CES of 84% in 2035.  The CES only applies to large utilities, about 13% of all utilities in 2025.  Utilities demonstrate compliance through clean energy credits, which are awarded based on the amount of carbon emissions per MWh of electricity generated.
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