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The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has completed a study comparing three proposed national renewable electricity standards (RES).

"A Comparative Analysis of Three Proposed Federal Renewable Electricity Standards," focuses on draft bills introduced individually by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and jointly by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Markey.

To assess the potential impacts of the three proposed standards on the U.S. electricity sector, a team of senior NREL energy analysts used the laboratory's Regional Energy Deployment System, a least-cost optimization model capable of simulating the special attributes of variable sources like wind and solar power.

The following four scenarios were evaluated:

- A base case where only currently enacted legislation is simulated;

- A 20% by 2021 RES target, with 25% of the RES assumed to be met with qualifying energy-efficiency projects (Bingaman);

- A 25% by 2025 RES target, with no energy-efficiency substitutions allowed (Markey); and

- A 25% by 2025 RES target, with 20% of the RES assumed to be met by energy efficiency, and a cumulative 15% reduction in load by 2020 (Waxman).

The Bingaman RES proposal exempts small electricity providers and allows up to 25% of the RES targets to be met through qualifying energy-efficiency projects annually, while the Markey legislation exempts a smaller group of utilities from meeting the RES and does not allow the substitution of energy-efficiency for renewable energy.

The Waxman discussion draft calls for a 25% renewable target by 2025, with the same exemptions regarding utility size as in the Markey bill; however, Waxman allows states to reduce the annual RES targets by up to 20% if the state has met the energy-efficiency resource standard (EERS). The EERS is a separate - but linked - requirement in the bill, and mandates cumulative national electricity savings of 15% by 2020.

In each of the proposed bills, the RES would allow affected electricity providers to generate their own renewable energy, purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) or pay an alternative compliance payment, which serves as an effective safety valve on the price of RECs.

Each bill also aims to prevent preemption of - or interference with - existing state RES mandates that meet or exceed the federal requirement.

For more information, visit nrel.gov.

SOURCE: National Renewable Energy Laboratory


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