Hawaii & Vermont Raise the Bar with Renewable Portfolio Standard Targets

Hawaii and Vermont’s high renewable portfolio standard targets

Today’s Energy Solutions, July 2, 2015. Image credit: Andre_Rau

Renewable portfolio standards are state- or local-level policies that mandate all or certain types of electricity producers to supply a minimum share of their electricity from designated renewable resources. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have RPS policies, and an additional eight states have nonbinding renewable portfolio goals.

EIA Renewable Energy Targets

Hawaii’s previous RPS required 40% renewable energy by the end of 2030. The new policy, H.B. 623, includes interim requirements of 30% by the end of 2020, 40% by 2030, and 70% by 2040, ultimately reaching 100% renewable electricity by 2045. The state has met its annual RPS obligations to date, which for 2014 was 10% renewable energy. Largely because of its isolation, the bulk of Hawaii’s electricity generation continues to be from petroleum.

Before passing its RPS, Vermont ran a renewable goal program known as Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED). The SPEED goal, enacted in 2005, set a nonbinding target of 20% renewables by 2017. Vermont’s new RPS, H.40, also known as Renewable Energy Standard and Energy Transformation (RESET), has an interim goal of 55% by 2017 and also includes provisions for cutting emissions in the residential and transportation sectors. In December 2014, the 604MW Vermont Yankee nuclear plant was retired. Because this plant supplied more than 70% of Vermont’s electricity generation in 2014, its retirement significantly changes the generation profile of the state.

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