This group brings together the best thinkers on energy and climate. Join us for smart, insightful posts and conversations about where the energy industry is and where it is going.


National renewable power standards? Still not practical

Michael Giberson's picture
Center for Energy Commerce, Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University

Dr. Michael Giberson is an instructor with the Center for Energy Commerce in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. Formerly, he was an economist with Potomac Economics, Ltd., a...

  • Member since 2018
  • 317 items added with 70,004 views
  • Nov 4, 2010

Your access to Member Features is limited.

Some news reports are suggesting the U.S. is now less likely to pass climate change legislation, but prospects for policies boosting renewable power may have improved slightly. Ever more timely, then, is this 2008 analysis of proposed national renewable portfolio standards by Jay Apt, Lester Lave, and Sompop Pattanariyankool: “A national renewable portfolio standard? Not practical.”  Selected quotes:

“Like Mayor Bloomberg and the Alliance [for Clean Energy New York], 25 governors, and more than 100 members of Congress, we love renewable energy. However, even this wonderful idea requires a hard look to see what is sensible now and why some current and proposed policies are likely to be costly, anger many people, and undermine the reliability of our electricity system.”

“We share the goals of reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy security, maintaining electric supply reliability, and controlling costs. The mistake is to think that a blinkered emphasis on renewable energy sources is the best way to achieve these goals. Unfortunately, this mistake has swept through 25 state legislatures.”

“Many current laws mandate the use of a specific technology, apparently assuming that legislators can predict the success of future R&D. An RPS is such a law. In our judgment, laws ought to specify requirements that generation technologies must meet, such as low pollution, affordability, power quality, and domestic power sources, and leave the means of realizing the goals to technologists and the market.”

Whatever goals members of Congress might have with respect to renewable power policy, there are more efficient policies available for pursuing those goals.  Unless, of course, members of Congress are mainly interested in feel-good policy symbolism, mucking around in markets for political purposes and hiding the burden of federal policy  in consumer’s electric bills.

Michael Giberson's picture
Thank Michael for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.

No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »