The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a policy mechanism that requires utilities and other energy providers to generate a minimum percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources. Since its inception in the United States nearly two decades ago, RPS policies have been adopted by over 30 states and territories, resulting in significant growth in the renewable energy industry.
Recently, many states have taken steps to strengthen their RPS policies and drive the industry further forward. In 2019, Washington state passed a law requiring all electricity providers to transition to 100% clean energy by 2045, making it the fourth state to adopt such a goal. Hawaii, California, and New Mexico have also passed legislation to achieve 100% clean energy by 2045 or earlier.
Other states have increased their RPS targets, including Oregon, which increased its target to 50% renewable energy by 2040, and Illinois, which increased its target to 25% by 2025. New Jersey passed a law requiring 50% renewable energy by 2030, and New York set a goal of 70% renewable energy by 2030, with the ultimate goal of achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040.
These policy changes have been driven by a variety of factors, including the declining cost of renewable energy, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, and the desire to increase energy independence and security.
As states continue to set ambitious RPS targets, the renewable energy industry is expected to grow at a rapid pace. According to a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, achieving 50% renewable energy by 2030 would result in the creation of over 140,000 new jobs in the United States.
In addition to creating jobs, renewable energy can also provide economic benefits to communities. Many states have policies in place to encourage local ownership of renewable energy projects, which can help keep money in the local economy and support rural communities.
While there are still challenges to be addressed in the renewable energy industry, such as intermittency and energy storage, the continued growth driven by RPS policies is a promising sign for the future. As more states adopt ambitious targets and transition to clean energy, the United States can lead the way in creating a sustainable and resilient energy system.