RENEWABLE ENERGY PORTFOLIO (RPS)

Many countries, particularly developed countries, have set penetration tar­gets for renewable energy in total electricity supply mix at the national or state/provincial levels. To meet the targets, electricity suppliers (e. g., utilities, distributors) are required to have certain percentage of their elec­tricity supply coming from renewable energy sources. These standards are commonly known as renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS). The standards can be supplemented with a trading regime where utilities with limited renewable electricity content in their overall supply portfolio, and high cost for renewable energy expansion, can meet their obligation by buying certificates from those with higher renewable electricity content or lower cost of expansion, as illustrated by Tradable Green Certificate (TGC) schemes in Europe. In the United States, 31 out of 50 States have introduced RPS. The standards range from 10% to 40% (Hawaii by 2030). Several states have created an RPS with specific standards for solar en­ergy. The New Jersey RPS required that 6.8% of the electricity sold in the state be renewable by 2008, of which 0.16% was to come from PV. This created a stand-alone market for solar renewable energy credits (SRECs), whose market price was capped through the use of an “alternative compli­ance payment” (ACP) of $300/MWh. In 2010, New Jersey revised its RPS to require 20.38% of its electricity to come from renewables by 2021. In addition, 2,518 GWh from in-state solar electric facilities must be gener­ated in 2021 and 5,316 GWh in 2026 (DSIRE, 2011). Similarly, Nevada"s RPS mandates that 20% of state electricity come from renewable resource by 2015. Of that, 5% must come from solar power (NREL, 2008). RPS contributed substantially to the realization of large scale CSP plants, such as the 500 MW CSP project in the Imperial Valley in California.