Three states pass renewable portfolio standards

by William Yeatman on July 6, 2004

in Politics

Rhode Island and Hawaii enacted renewable portfolio standards for electric utilities in June. The Maryland legislature also passed a renewable portfolio standard bill by a veto-proof margin.

Rhode Island enacted a law requiring electricity retailers to include an increasing renewable portfolio in their sales. By December 31, 2006, they will be required to source 3 percent of their sales from renewable energy, with the amount increasing in subsequent years. The legislation is designed to encourage new renewable energy sources (only 2 percent may come from existing sources) and can be read at

Hawaii enacted a law imposing a renewable portfolio on the states public utilities in increasing amounts until 2020. The first milestone is a requirement of 8 percent by the end of 2005. The law does, however, allow the utilities to miss the target if they cannot meet it in a cost-effective manner. It can be found at

The Maryland legislature passed a renewable portfolio standard for the states electricity retailers by a veto-proof margin. Electricity suppliers must produce 1 percent of their electricity from “Tier 1” renewable resources in 2006. The requirement will rise by 1 percent every two years, reaching 7 percent in 2017. Tier 1 includes solar, wind, ocean, qualifying biomass, geothermal, landfill or wastewater methane, renewably-fueled fuel cells, and small hydroelectric plants.  In addition, 2.5% of the portfolio each year must be generated by either Tier 1 or Tier 2 resources, until 2017, when all renewable generation must be from Tier 1.  Tier 2 includes hydroelectric power, incineration of poultry litter, and waste-to-energy. The bill can be read at hb1308e.rtf.

The Western Governors Association approved a resolution unanimously that established a feasibility study into providing 30,000MW of clean energy by 2015 and a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020. The full resolution can be read at

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