Formulating Success: Dissecting Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in both New York and Texas for Application in California

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Jay Ague
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With impressive progress to-date, California legislators seek to expand the state’s share of renewable generation to 50% by 2030. The policy of choice is a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which sets a mandate that renewable electricity generation becomes a more significant portion of a state’s electricity portfolio. Lawmakers in California developed this program in response to the electricity crisis of the early 2000s to diversify the state’s electricity portfolio, but also to curb greenhouse gases emissions. With state utilities working toward renewable generation of 33% of the total electricity portfolio, weaknesses in California’s RPS are becoming clear. Issues like decentralized RPS administration, complicated and overlapping responsibilities and enforcement methods, ineffective enforcement, and RPS stakeholder contention justify consideration of state RPS amendment. Underrepresented in current research are analyses of a number of state RPS programs facing similar challenges and perhaps revealing novel solutions. In this paper, New York and Texas RPS experience guide a benchmarking study that presents California RPS challenges with foundations for solutions. A dissection of early RPS success in Texas and policy abandonment in New York enables the development of metrics of success for California moving forward.