Ramping Up Renewables: Study Spotlights Standard Strength

Posted: Updated:
The top takeaway, Carley says, is that specifics matter when it comes to putting together standards. The top takeaway, Carley says, is that specifics matter when it comes to putting together standards.
BLOOMINGTON -

Size and design matter when it comes to regulations to promote renewable energy development. That is one of the main findings from a study led by an Indiana University researcher looking at the expansion of renewable energies and generation.

IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs Associate Professor Sanya Carley lead the research team, which also included Assistant Scientist Nikolaos Zirogiannis and law professors from the University of Utah and the University of Texas at Austin. The group interviewed more than 40 experts about renewable portfolio standards and analyzed their history and evolution.

The top takeaway, Carley says, is that specifics matter when it comes to putting together standards.

“Our main finding is that the design of the policy really matters,” says Carley. “It’s one thing just to say, ‘We’ll have this portfolio standard, we’ll mandate renewables and therefore our markets will develop.’” It’s a completely different thing to say, ‘We’re going to have this standard, and these are exactly the ways we will design it, these are the different design features that we will introduce, and these different design features will lead to different outcomes.”

She says a strong economic climate as well as natural resources, such as Iowa’s strong winds or Arizona’s abundant sun, are also important.

For Indiana’s part, Carley says there are some standards in place, but adds there is plenty of room for improvement.

In 2011, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission finished its rulemaking on the Comprehensive Hoosier Option to Incentivize Cleaner Energy, or CHOICE program. The voluntary standard is for utilities to have 10 percent of their portfolios be clean energy by 2025. The program offers incentives, in the form of potential increases return on equity (which drives profit) in exchange for increasing renewable energy sources, ranging from wind and solar to hydropower and animal waste.

However, the mere fact that it’s voluntary, Carley says, means the program could be much stronger.

“One of the things that we actually find in our paper is that having a mandatory policy leads to significantly more renewable energy than having a voluntary program,” Carley says. “Voluntary is more of a symbolic effort, and less so…not only incentivizing but mandating renewables to happen within your state.”

Carley hopes policymakers throughout the United States can use the research to figure out what type of design would work best for their portfolio standard policies. She suggests looking into factors including geographic restrictions, cost recovery programs and resources allowing utilities to meet with stakeholders and commissions to work through compliance and future planning.

Armed with the new data, Carley and her team hope states looking to boost renewable energy will put their energy into policy designs that point to greener portfolios.

Carley outlines the main findings of the renewable energy standards study.
Carley hopes communities will make good use of the study's findings.
  • Perspectives

    • Mitigating Your Company’s Cybersecurity Risk

      Frequently, I encounter people who think that a software developer understands all languages and can “fix” anything tech related. While that may be true for a few, areas of expertise within tech evolve as rapidly as the technology itself. For instance, there was a time (not long ago) when operating in the cloud was revolutionary. Today, it is considered best practices for some or all of an organization to function within a cloud. Managed information technology began with...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (photo courtesy Dax Norton)

      Whitestown Tops Indiana's Fastest-Growing Communities

      The Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business says Whitestown in Boone County is Indiana's fastest-growing community for the eighth consecutive year. The center says the town's population nearly tripled, from 3,132 in 2010 to 8,627 last year. Westfield in Hamilton County is not far behind. Its population grew 5.2 percent in 2018, according to information reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. Other communities on the list include...

    • (Image courtesy of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.)

      Indy-to-Paris Flight Celebrates One Year

      One year after the first nonstop flight from Indianapolis International Airport to Paris, Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez says the flight is "fully meeting our expectations." He says, on average, more than 1,000 passengers per week fly between Indianapolis and Paris. Delta Air Lines Flight 500 marked IND's first year-round, nonstop transatlantic air service to Europe. The airline increases the route's frequency throughout the spring, summer and fall...

    • (photo courtesy of Farmer's Fridge)

      Farmer's Fridge Expands to Indianapolis

      A Chicago-based company is looking to make fresh, healthy food as convenient in Indianapolis as a candy bar. Farmer’s Fridge has expanded to more than a dozen locations in the Indy market with its "smart fridges" the size of vending machines, which feature a variety of freshly-made products such as salads, bowls and snacks. Rachel Rischall, director of communications for Farmer's Fridge, says the food is made fresh every day and shipped to nearly 300 fridges in...

    • The Waterside project aims to transform 100-acres of the former GM Stamping Plant site. (photo courtesy of Ambrose Property Group)

      Ambrose, Glick Partner on Waterside

      Indianapolis-based Ambrose Property Group has announced a key partnership for the redevelopment of the former GM Stamping Plant in downtown Indianapolis. The commercial real estate firm is teaming up with the Gene B. Glick Co. to build and manage apartments as part of the $1.4 billion mixed-use redevelopment project. Ambrose says the partnership is also part of plans to catalyze "philanthropic and community-centric strategies to strengthen Indianapolis." The firm also...

    • Pearl will take the position on May 22

      Bloomington Launches Online Economic Development Tool

      The city of Bloomington has officially launched its new online development tool. The platform will streamline public data for current and prospective business owners and entrepreneurs.