A Retrospective Analysis of the Benefits and Impacts of U.S. Renewable Portfolio Standards

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This is the second in a series of reports exploring the costs, benefits, and other impacts of state renewable portfolio standards (RPS). This report focuses on the benefits and impacts of all state RPS programs, in aggregate, for the year 2013. Relying on a well-vetted set of methods, this report evaluates a number of important benefits and impacts in both physical and monetary terms, where possible, and characterizes key uncertainties. In particular, the study evaluates potential societal benefits associated with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution emissions, and water use. It also assesses the impacts—which are best considered resource transfers rather than societal benefits—associated with gross jobs and economic development, wholesale electricity prices, and natural gas prices. The prior study in this series focused on historical RPS compliance costs, and future work will evaluate costs, benefits, and other impacts of RPS policies prospectively.

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