This WRI policy brief makes the case for a national renewable electricity standard (RES), and makes recommendations for specific design features that a national RES should include.
A RES, also called a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), requires electricity suppliers to obtain a minimum percentage of their power from eligible renewable energy sources by a certain date. To date, a patchwork of 25 states and the District of Columbia have implemented renewable electricity standards (RES). the 110th Congress is considering the establishment of a national RES, but no such standard exists at present.
A national renewable electricity standard could encourage competition and innovation in the renewable energy field, reduce renewable energy cost, and strategically diversify away from polluting sources of energy. By driving renewables to scale in the United States, a RES also creates an opportunity for American industry to excel in the development and deployment of renewable energy projects—and can position the U.S. as a leading supplier in growing international market place.
A national RES should include:
The U.S. would benefit in a variety of important ways: