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Federal Policy Analysis

NREL's federal policy analysis team analyzes existing and proposed legislation and policy related to clean energy. The team focuses much of its effort on pro-active analysis that is under consideration by Congress or the administration. The team provides objective information that may be helpful for policymakers and inform decision making. For more on NREL's analysis of policies such as renewable electricity standards, production tax credits, national energy plans, and more, access the documents below.

Key Analyses for 2010

Evaluating an RPS and Carbon Cap Scenarios

Cover of the Evaluating Renewable Portfolio Standards and Carbon Cap Scenarios in the U.S. Electric Sectore report.

SEAC analysts Lori Bird, Caroline Chapman, Jeff Logan, Jenny Sumner, and Walter Short recently published the report "Evaluating Renewable Portfolio Standards and Carbon Cap Scenarios in the U.S. Electric Sector." This report examines the impact of various renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and cap-and-trade policy options on the U.S. electricity sector, focusing mainly on renewable energy generation. The analysis uses NREL's Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) model that simulates the least-cost expansion of electricity generation capacity and transmission in the United States to examine the impact of an emissions cap—similar to that proposed in the Waxman-Markey bill (H.R. 2454)—as well as lower and higher cap scenarios. It also examines the effects of combining various RPS targets with the emissions caps. The generation mix, carbon emissions, and electricity price are examined for various policy combinations to simulate the effect of implementing policies simultaneously.

Key Analyses for 2009

Cover of A Comparative Analysis of Three Proposed Federal Renewable Electricity Standards report.

Analyzing Proposed Renewable Electricity Standards

SEAC analysts Patrick Sullivan, Jeffrey Logan, Lori Bird, and Walter Short published the report "A Comparative Analysis of Three Proposed Federal Renewable Electricity Standards." This paper compares three proposed national renewable electricity standards (also known as renewable portfolio standards), which are under consideration by committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. 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 (ReEDS) model, a detailed least-cost optimization tool capable of simulating the special attributes of variable sources such as wind and solar power. Lawmakers in at least 28 states and the District of Columbia have established schedules that mandate minimum uses of renewable energy, typically within the next two decades. The three proposals were compared against a baseline in which only currently enacted laws are considered.

"Comparative Review of a Dozen National Energy Plans: Focus on Renewable and Efficient Energy." Logan, J.; James, T. L. (2009). 49 pp.; NREL Report No. TP-6A2-45046.

"PTC, ITC, or Cash Grant? An Analysis of the Choice Facing Renewable Power Projects in the United States." Bolinger, M.; Wiser, R.; Cory, K.; James, T. (2009). 21 pp.; NREL Report No. TP-6A2-45359; LBNL-1642E.

Renewable Portfolio Standards

NREL has compiled this list of resources related to renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies. It can be accessed on the Renewable Portfolio Standards page on the NREL State & Local Activities website.

More Publications

"Evaluating a Proposed 20% National Renewable Portfolio Standard." Logan, J.; Sullivan, P.; Short, W.; Bird, L.; James, T. L.; Shah, M. R. (2009). 35 pp.; NREL Report No. TP-6A2-45161.

"Examination of the Regional Supply and Demand Balance for Renewable Electricity in the United States through 2015." Bird, L.; Hurlbut, D.; Donohoo, P.; Cory, K.; Kreycik, C. (2009). 51 pp.; NREL Report No. TP-6A2-45041.

"Feed-in Tariff Policy: Design, Implementation, and RPS Policy Interactions." Cory, K.; Couture, T.; Kreycik, C. (2009). 23 pp.; NREL Report No. TP-6A2-45549.

"Renewable Electricity Benefits Quantification Methodology: A Request for Technical Assistance from the California Public Utilities Commission." Mosey, G.; Vimmerstedt, L. (2009). 52 pp.; NREL Report No. TP-6A2-45639.

More Information

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