National RPS Now!
TEXAS SOLAR PO WER COMPAN Y
42 July/August 2010 SOLAR TODAY solartoday.org
In the late 1990s when George W. Bush was governor, Texas passed what was, at he time, the most aggressive state renew- able portfolio standard (RPS), calling for 2,000 megawatts of new renewable energy supply by 2009. Mostly due to rapid development of large-scale wind projects, Texas easily
surpassed this target — and in 2005 the state
increased its RPS targets.
The Texas experience indicates that an RPS
can garner support and succeed in red and blue
states alike. In this age of entrenched partisanship, it may be particularly valuable to reflect
on how an RPS can appeal across the political
spectrum as a strategy for achieving common
objectives — including improved energy secu-
It is important that a national renewable portfolio standard (RPS) require that every state enable basic
net metering and interconnection. By setting minimum national standards, the legislation will encourage distributed generation and the contributions that hundreds of thousands of small-scale systems can
make toward meeting our RPS targets.
rity, economic development and environmental
stewardship. And, as countries like China and
Germany have demonstrated, a national RPS will
significantly contribute to our nation’s security,
global competitiveness and our part in climate
This article discusses why, even as more than
29 states have adopted renewable portfolio standards, the time has come for the United States to
enact a national RPS. It also identifies elements
that a national RPS needs to encompass in order
Why Set a National Renewable Port-
More than ever, a national RPS is needed to
address our nation’s most pressing challenges.
First, adopting a national RPS will significantly expand the overall market for renewable energy. The state-based portfolio standards already
to support broad-based development of appropriate renewable energy resources around the