Wind, solar, and other renewable energy generation in the United States is accelerating at an extraordinary rate. Costs for eco-friendly solutions such as solar energy are making renewable power more economical for non-commercial consumers. Utility-scale sustainable energy generation, from any perspective, owes a substantial part of its success to the advent of the Renewable Portfolio Standard.
Promoting Renewable Generation
At this time, 29 states have a mandatory RPS while 8 states have a voluntary RPS or renewable energy goal. RPS rules differ significantly between states. An RPS includes time-specific goals for renewable energy production. Percentage of retail electric sales is the foundation the majority of RPS goals while others employ installed capacity. Each RPS additionally specifies which generation resources are qualified to fulfill those goals.
Electricity providers assume the financial burden of RPS compliance. While RPS continues to be a successful catalyst for sustainable energy development, its expense factors into New Hampshire electricity rates. This has caused in some marketplace observers labeling RPS as an unseen tax on electricity customers. Whether that characterization is accurate or fair, it is important for consumers to understand the reasoning behind RPS.
New Hampshire Renewable Energy
The New Hampshire RPS sets a total renewable requirement of 24.8% by 2025. The requirement is broken into four renewable source categories. The classifications are differentiated by technology and operation date. Renewable generation sources active on or before January 1, 2006 are existing sources while those that began operation after January 1, 2006 are designated as new sources.
Each of the four classifications contributes to the 24.8% renewable portfolio standard. Class I and Class II account for 15% and 0.3% respectively. Class III accounts for 8% of the RPS requirement while Class IV accounts for 1.5% of retail electric sales.
Class I resources are new sources including wind, geothermal, solar hot water heating, hydrogen derived from biomass fuel or methane, and ocean thermal or kinetic energy. Class II sources include new solar electric generation facilities. Class III sources are eligible existing biomass technologies while Class IV sources are eligible existing hydroelectric generation facilities. New production from Class III and Class IV sources might qualify them as Class I sources. This measure is intended to encourage capital investment in existing facilities.