U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Annual Energy Outlook 2011
Release Date: April 26, 2011 | Next Early Release Date: January 23, 2012 | Report Number: DOE/EIA-0383(2011)
Legislation and regulations
State renewable energy requirements and goals: Update through 2010
To the extent possible, AEO2011 incorporates the impacts of State laws requiring the addition of renewable generation or capacity by utilities doing business in the States. Currently, 30 States and the District of Columbia have enforceable RPS or similar laws (Table 2). Under such standards, each State determines its own levels of renewable generation, eligible technologies, and noncompliance penalties. AEO2011 includes the impacts of all laws in effect in 2010 (with the exception of Hawaii, because NEMS provides electricity market projections for the continental United States only).
In the AEO2011 Reference case, States generally meet their ultimate RPS targets. RPS compliance in most regions is approximated, because NEMS is not a State-level model, and each State generally represents only a portion of one of the NEMS electricity regions. Compliance costs in each region are tracked, and the projection for total renewable generation is checked for consistency with any State-level cost-control provisions, such as caps on renewable credit prices, limits on State compliance funding, or impacts on consumer electricity prices. In general, EIA has confirmed each State's requirements through original documentation, although the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) also assisted EIA's efforts .
No States that did not previously have RPS programs have enacted new renewable generation laws over the past year. States that have made significant modifications to existing laws include the following:
Through several executive orders, CARB is now charged with implementing a 33-percent RPS by 2020 as part of the carbon-reduction guidelines originally laid out in AB 32  (see previous section). This standard is a significant increase from the previous 20-percent version administered by the California Energy Commission and Public Utility Commission. More information can be found in the subsequent section on airborne emission regulations.
The State strengthened its existing RPS by requiring that 30 percent of sales be generated from renewable sources by 2020 . Investor-owned qualifying utilities must also provide appropriate incentives so that renewable distributed generation makes up 3 percent of total sales .
Although Delaware's RPS structure remains largely unchanged, Senate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill 119 extended the targets by an additional 5 years, to 2025. In 2025, 25 percent of sales must be from renewable sources. The solar provisions also are extended, and 3.5 percent of sales must come from electricity generated by solar photovoltaic cells .
After temporarily suspending biomass eligibility on the basis of a study of life-cycle carbon emissions from biomass feedstocks, the Commonwealth changed its RPS to clarify and restrict the sources of biomass that will be eligible to meet its standard . Although the changes attempt to prevent excess CO2 emissions from biomass generation, there still is much uncertainty about the true carbon footprints of various biomass feedstocks, as well as the future of eligible materials. Also, a Solar Carve-Out Program was added to the State's RPS, requiring additional installations to bring total installed photovoltaic capacity to 400 megawatts .
The State enacted two pieces of legislation affecting its RPS. AB 3520  changed and extended its solar target to require a fixed amount of renewable generation rather than a percentage of renewable capacity: 5,316 gigawatthours of generation will be required in 2026. Senate Bill 2036  established an offshore wind target of 1,100 megawatts. However, considerable regulatory uncertainties remain to be resolved.
In January 2010, the New York Public Service Commission issued new orders expanding the State-funded RPS program . The main-tier program seeks to establish 29 percent renewable generation by 2015, including existing capacity that already meets more than two-thirds of the new mandate. The program will be funded through a limited State fund of $2 billion. Moreover, a supplemental customer-sited tier will increase installations of end-use solar, wind, and anaerobic digester capacity.