U.S. Renewables Portfolio Standards: 2018 Annual Status Report

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Berkeley Lab’s annual status report on U.S. renewables portfolio standards (RPS) provides an overview of key trends associated with U.S. state RPS policies. The report, published in slide-deck form, describes recent legislative revisions, key policy design features, compliance with interim targets, past and projected impacts on renewables development, and compliance costs.

The 2018 edition of the report presents historical data through year-end 2017 and projections through 2030. Key trends from this edition of the report include the following:

  • Evolution of state RPS programs: Significant RPS-related policy revisions in 2018 include increased RPS targets in CA, CT, MA, and NJ; a phase-out of NJ’s solar carve-out; a clean peak standard in MA; and new or increased offshore wind carve-outs in NJ and NY.
  • Historical impacts on renewables development: Roughly half of all growth in U.S. renewable electricity (RE) generation and capacity since 2000 is associated with state RPS requirements. Nationally, the role of RPS policies has diminished over time, representing 34% of all U.S. RE capacity additions in 2017. However, within particular regions—namely, the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and West—RPS policies continue to play a central role in supporting RE growth.
  • Future RPS demand and incremental needs: Meeting RPS demand growth will require roughly a 50% increase in U.S. RE generation by 2030, equating to 56 GW of new RE capacity. To meet future RPS demand, total U.S. RE generation will need to reach 15% of electricity sales by 2030 (compared to 11% today), though other drivers will also continue to influence RE growth.
  • RPS target achievement to-date: States have generally met their interim RPS targets in recent years, with only a few exceptions reflecting unique, state-specific policy designs.
  • REC pricing trends: Prices for NEPOOL Class I RECs continued to fall in 2018, as surplus RPS supplies grew, while PJM Tier I REC prices began to rebound. Price trends for solar RECs vary by state, though no major shifts occurred in 2018.
  • RPS compliance costs and cost caps: RPS compliance costs totaled $4.1 billion in 2017, which equates to 2.0% of average retail electricity bills in RPS states. Though total U.S. RPS compliance costs rose from 2016, recent trends show that falling RE costs and REC prices have helped to offset the upward pressure on compliance costs from rising RPS targets.

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The most recent version of the RPS report can be accessed via the project page found here.  


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