University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Analyzing the Evolution of the Renewable Portfolio Standard in the United States

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June 2018

Kyle Butler

Abstract

Due to a lack of concerted federal action to promote renewable energy, understanding and evaluating the rigors of state-level energy policies such as renewable portfolio standards is of great importance. The literature on state renewable policies suggests that policy design and stringency has meaningful implications on effectiveness; this project seeks to identify how renewable portfolio standards have changed over time by creating an inventory tracking each policy from initial enactment to most recent revision. This inventory shows that states do not tend to become more ambitious when revising policies, and high liberalism states tend to increase their ambition through revisions while low liberalism states decrease ambition. This research illustrates the need for future research on renewable portfolio standard design that considers how RPS policies evolve over time and provides policymakers with a comprehensive, comparable list of RPS policies in the United States.

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