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 national RES should include:
Eligibility requirements that reduce GHG emissions, lead to local environmental improvements, and minimize negative environmental impacts.
The establishment of a long-term, legally binding target that covers all electricity suppliers
National sourcing of renewable energy certificates.
The option for state RES targets that exceed the national target.
Benefits to U.S.
The U.S. would benefit in a variety of important ways:
Reductions in CO2 emissions and energy bills from low-carbon sources of energy, improved air and water quality, and new jobs and economic opportunity in under-served communities.
Businesses will benefit from reduced price volatility, lower
energy costs and new investment opportunities.
The incentives provided by a national RES, combined with our spirit
of innovation and entrepreneurship, could allow America to
lead the world in renewable energy technologies while taking
a significant step towards tackling the critical threat of global
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