Energy Manitoba

Renewable Portfolio Standards - US

biomassRenewable portfolio standards specify that electric utilities generate a certain amount of energy from renewable (renewable portfolio standard, RPS) or alternative energy sources (alternative energy portfolio standard, AEPS). These standards are implemented to decrease green house gas emissions, create jobs, energy security and cleaner air.

Renewable Portfolio Standards encourages clean energy by creating market demand for renewable and clean energy supplies. The benefits are environmental improvement, increased diversity and security of energy supply, more stable power prices and local economic development.

RPS require that a state must have between 4 and 30 percent of electricity generated from renewable sources by a specified date. Standards are tailored to each states energy market requirements and policy objectives.

There are three ways electricity suppliers comply with RPS in the US:

  • Owning a renewable energy facility and its output generation.
  • Purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates
  • Purchasing electricity from a renewable facility inclusive of all renewable attributes (sometimes called "bundled renewable electricity").

As of March 2009 requirements or goals have been set in 33 states in the US. It is projected that state standards will provide support for 76,750 megawatts of new renewable energy by 2025, an increase of 570 percent.

Several provinces in Canada have RPS. BC, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia and Quebec have mandatory targets for specific sources. RPS are in progress for New Brunswick and PEI.

RPS are found worldwide and can be voluntary or mandatory. RPS are most effective if accompanied by complementary policies such as feed-in tariffs and capital grants.

View Pew Center United States RPS Interactive Map
View EPA fact sheet on RPS
View October 27, 2009 Energy Probe press release
View Canadian Government Renewable Energy webpage
Download April 2008 Renewable Portfolio Standards US Status Report (PDF)
Download 2009 Pew Center state breakdown (PDF)
Download February 16, 2005 CanBio Report (PDF)

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, Canadian Bioenergy Association (CanBio)