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According to a report - "Weighing the Costs and Benefits of State Renewables Portfolio Standards: A Comparative Analysis of State-Level Policy Impact Projections" - released by Berkeley, Calif.-based Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, increased deployment of renewable energy driven by state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) is not expected to increase electricity rates dramatically.

State RPS policies have emerged as one of the most important drivers of renewable energy in the U.S., the lab says. Collectively, the RPS policies that are in place apply to roughly 40% of U.S. electricity load. But the adoption of these policies often hinges on debates over the expected costs and benefits of increased renewable energy use.

"These studies have been conducted by a wide range of organizations and persuasively demonstrate that state-level RPS policies need not break the bank," says report co-author Ryan Wiser.

According to the study, 70% of state RPS cost studies predict that the required renewable energy deployment will raise retail electricity rates at the state level by less than 1% where those standards are in place, though some studies predict more unfavorable outcomes, and six of the studies predict cost decreases. On average, the studies predict that state RPS impacts would cost an average household roughly $0.40 per month, though studies predict a wide range of possible outcomes around this average value. In addition, many of the studies evaluate the potential benefits of state RPS obligations, including economic development benefits, risk mitigation and environmental gains.

The full report can be downloaded from http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/ems/re-pubs.html

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