Benefits of Renewable portfolio standards (RPS)

Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (LBNL) and NREL are reporting (

  1. Under the RPS standards in 2013, 98 TWh of electricity (2.4% of total US generation) was generated from renewable energy sources
  2. This resulted in 7.5 c/kWh of benefits in terms of GHG and air pollution  emissions reductions
    1. 2.2 c/kWh from GHG, 59 million metrics tons of GHG
    2. 5.2 c/kWh from air pollution emissions reductions--77,000 metric tons (mt) of SO2, 43,900 mt of Nitrogen Oxides, 4,800 mt of particulate matter 2.5
  3. In addition, water use consumption is reduced by 27 billion gallons, and withdrawal reduced by 850 billion gallons
  4. $20 billion in GDP from 200,000 jobs
  5. Reduced consumer electricity prices by 0 to 1.2 c/kWh
  6. Reduced demand for natural gas (as fuel for electricity generation) leading to reduction in cost by 1.3c to 3.7c /kWh of RE

RPS standards exist in 29 states and Washington, DC.

The above estimates show that the savings from RE has huge: 8.8 c/kWh to 12.4 c/kWh.  This ignores savings in water consumption and benefits of higher GDP.

On the costs side, there is 2.3 c/kWh for 10 years of production tax credit from the federal government, and RPS costs.  Regarding the latter costs "RPS compliance costs over the 2010–2013 period were generally equivalent to less than 2% of average statewide retail electricity rates, but varied substantially, with the net cost to utilities and other loadserving entities ranging from -0.4 to 4.8¢ per kilowatt-hour of renewable electricity (kWh-RE)" (see, page 14).  Although these are estimates that will be refined over time, the benefits are overwhelming.

LBNL-NREL report