Panel: Renewable Portfolio Standards and Their Policy Legacy in a Changing Political Climate
(Natural Resource Security, Energy and Environmental Policy)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
New Orleans (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Nikolay Anguelov, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Panel Chairs:  Hongtao Yi, The Ohio State University

Renewable Portfolio Standards and the Importance of Policy Design
Sanya Carley, Indiana University, Lincoln Davies, University of Utah and David Spence, University of Texas, Austin

An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Renewable Portfolio Standards and Feed-in-Tariffs on International Markets
Gregory Upton, Louisiana State University and Sanya Carley, Indiana University

The Impact of Energy Policy on Respiratory Health and Mortality
Alex Hollingsworth, Indiana University and Ivan Rudik, Iowa State University

Renewable Portfolio Standards and Policy Stringency: An Assessment of Implementation and Outcomes
Nikolay Anguelov, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and William Dooley, Clean Harbors Inc.

Over the last two decades, state governments have played an expanding role in shaping U.S. energy policy with dual objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing electricity portfolio diversity. One of the most commonly employed state-level policy mechanisms is the renewable portfolio standard (RPS). As of February, 2017, 37 states, Washington D.C., and 4 territories have enacted some form of RPS. An additional 8 states have voluntary standards. Not all states, however, design their RPS standards similarly, nor do they all adhere to RPS guidelines in the same way. These policies have also led to different market outcomes across the states. With the current change in administration, and the possibility that energy policy will remain within the primary domain of state governments, it is an especially important time to take stock of previous RPS challenges and opportunities, and to consider the future of these policies as they shape U.S. energy markets.

The proposed panel takes account of these issues, with four rigorous and empirical analyses of RPS policies. Collectively, the papers address 3 fundamental questions:

1)    What causes states to adopt stronger or weaker RPS policies?

2)   How does policy stringency and design affect certain market outcomes, such as solar or wind developments?

3)    How well can RPS policies achieve the objectives set out for them, such as renewable energy deployment, minimal impacts on electricity prices, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and an improvement in human health?

While the study of a single policy may seem too narrow for an APPAM panel, we believe that this proposed panel offers three distinct contributions to the natural resource, environment, and energy track. First, these papers not only consider the legacy of the RPS policy, but also reflect more broadly on our current energy and climate policy situation, and the manner in which policy, markets, and politics may continue to evolve in the future. Second, all four papers offer methodological contributions through the use of statistical tools that can better account for issues of endogeneity and policy interactions across states, or through measures that provide more nuance and accuracy than those used previously. Third, the panel represents a diverse mix of scholars that approach the topic from a variety of social science perspectives—economics, public policy, political science, and law.