Evaluating RPS Policy Design: Metrics, Gaps, Best Practices, and Paths to Innovation

KLRI Journal of Law and Legislation, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 3-75 (2014)

University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No.101

74 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2015 Last revised: 10 Mar 2015

See all articles by Lincoln L. Davies

Lincoln L. Davies

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: October 27, 2014

Abstract

As renewable energy support policies continue to evolve, assessing their effectiveness is increasingly important. Today, renewable portfolio standards (“RPS”) — mandates that jurisdictions produce a percentage of their electricity from renewable energy — are one of the two leading policy tools used to promote renewable energy development. While RPSs have received significant scholarly attention, few analyses have focused on RPS policy design. This Article fills this gap in the literature. Specifically, the Article makes three primary contributions: First, it builds a new conceptual model that can be used to evaluate RPS performance. Second, it employs that model to identify which RPS policy design traits are most likely to influence whether these laws succeed or fail. Finally, based on this analysis, the Article extracts lessons about current voids in RPS policy, RPS best practices, and, importantly, ways that RPS policy design can be innovated going forward. In this way, the Article is both conceptual and analytical. It draws on scholarship in regulatory performance, renewable energy law and policy, and innovation and technology diffusion, and it utilizes examples of RPS performance from across the globe — particularly in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Article concludes that RPSs should focus more on reducing investor risk, expanding the types of resources they promote, addressing equity concerns, and removing external barriers to renewable energy development. While RPSs seek to advance a clean energy transition differently from how feed-in tariffs (“FITs”) promote renewables, policymakers may be able to enhance RPS performance by building into RPSs of the future tools used in FITs today.

Keywords: Renewable portfolio standard (RPS), renewables obligation (RO), renewable purchase obligation (“RPO”), renewable energy credit (“REC”), tradable green certificate (“TGC”), renewable energy policy, policy evaluation, feed-in tariff, green growth, clean energy, United States, United Kingdom, India

JEL Classification: K10, K20, K23, K29, K32, Q20, Q28, Q38, Q40, Q41, Q42, Q48, L94, O31, O32

Suggested Citation

Davies, Lincoln L., Evaluating RPS Policy Design: Metrics, Gaps, Best Practices, and Paths to Innovation (October 27, 2014). KLRI Journal of Law and Legislation, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 3-75 (2014); University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No.101. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2554652

Lincoln L. Davies (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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