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. National RPS Energy Rules Key To Fixing Flaws Arising From A Jumble Of State Policies

A National RPS would create a level playing field for states. Under the present system, some states enjoy deflated electricity prices from cheap, dirty sources of energy, which leaves ratepayers in other states with more stringent environmental safeguards picking up their tab.
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 13, 2007
"Will the proposed National Renewable Portfolio raise or lower average electricity prices?" "Will a national standard prevent price gouging and "gaming" between states?" "Can electric utilities save money by supporting a national renewable energy policy?" The Network for New Energy Choices addresses these and many other questions in "Renewing America," an empirically rigorous study of how carefully crafted federal energy standards can fix dangerous flaws in the nation's energy grid.

Crafting such a law "may seem simple on its face," said the study's lead author, Christopher Cooper, Senior Policy Director for the Network for New Energy Choices. "But design is everything. Only by looking carefully at the unintended consequences of state-based energy programs can one craft a federal policy that fulfills the House and Senate objectives: requiring utilities to use solar, wind and other "renewable" resources; preventing price-gouging and ultimately saving money for consumers."

The report's findings include:

A National RPS would create a level playing field for states. Under the present system, some states enjoy deflated electricity prices from cheap, dirty sources of energy, which leaves ratepayers in other states with more stringent environmental safeguards picking up their tab.

A national RPS prevents utilities from profiting off of inconsistencies between state mandates. Because Washington's renewable standards exclude hydropower, for example, Washington's low cost renewable energy is sold to consumers in neighboring states while Washington ratepayers are forced to buy higher cost renewable energy credits from generators outside the state.

In effect, Washington consumers are subsidizing cheaper renewable energy for surrounding states. "Renewing America" shows how a national "renewable portfolio standard," by creating a uniform definition of eligible renewable fuels, would prevent these kinds of predatory trade-offs by creating a uniform definition of eligible resources.

Renewable resources can serve as a "hedge" against the financial risks that are inherent in the volatile natural gas market. However, the value of this "hedge benefit" increases as the percent of the RPS mandate increases.

Energy Report - PDF File

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Related Links
Network for New Energy Choices
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Prairie Cordgrass For Cellulosic Ethanol Production
Brookings SD (SPX) Jun 13, 2007
South Dakota State University researchers have won a major federal grant to help them map the genes of prairie cordgrass, a native grass that could be used to make cellulosic ethanol. Assistant professor Jose Gonzalez in SDSU's Department of Plant Science leads a team that has received $420,000 to study prairie cordgrass over a two-year period starting Aug. 1.

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