Report: Renewable portfolio standards not pushing up electricity rates

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 @ 12:04 PM
posted by rene5432

Renewable portfolio standards have become some of the best policies for supporting green energy, but some politicians have objected that these programs raise electricity rates.

A new policy brief from Richard Caperton, the director of clean energy investment at the Center for American Progress, challenges this idea, showing how some groups have relied on simplistic analyses to make their case against renewable electricity.

Portfolio standards, in use by 29 states, work by setting a certain proportion of all electricity that must come from green energy sources. Some people have argued that these policies force utilities to use more expensive sources of renewable electricity driving up rates.

But Caperton notes that some of the analyses point out that electricity rates in those 29 states are higher than in other states, or that electricity rates have risen since they went into effect. But those are as much caused by the broader electricity market, since electricity rates have been on the rise for decades.

Caperton looks at whether states with portfolio standards see a change in electricity rates compared to the national average, and found no real relationship.

One energy expert explained to The Christian Science Monitor that renewable electricity is a small portion of the energy market, so any added costs would be washed out by market fluctuations regardless.

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