The Cure for the RPS Blues

June 12, 2007
07:56 PM
Utility commissioners in the Southeast (and some lobbyists in Washington) are running a temperature about the prospects for a national renewable portfolio standard (RPS).  They seem to be feeling under the weather because they think such a law would mean higher costs for consumers.  This suspicion is supported by “evidence” in a study commissioned by - surprise, surprise - the utility industry’s biggest trade association, the Edison Electric Institute.
Fortunately, we have found the cure for the RPS blues!
Chairman Jeff Bingaman invites you to consider a new report, released yesterday, that puts in context any overheated allegations that a national renewable portfolio standard would harm consumers. The 29-page study, “Impacts of a 15 Percent Renewable Portfolio Standard,” was prepared by experts at the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
EIA, created by Congress in 1977, is an independent, policy-neutral statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy.  It provides timely, high-quality data, forecasts and analyses to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets and public understanding regarding energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.

Sen. Bingaman, a leading voice for renewable energy, will introduce a Renewable Portfolio Standard amendment during floor debate on the energy bill.  Last month he asked EIA to analyze a 15 percent RPS.   A key finding: The increased use of renewable energy in a national RPS leads to only slightly higher electricity expenditures (0.5 percent) by 2030 and lower coal and natural gas prices.

So, i
f fear of renewables is the fever, EIA’s new analysis surely is the cure.

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