Cost-Effectiveness of Renewable Electricity Policies
We analyze policies to promote renewable sources of electricity. A renewable portfolio standard raises electricity prices and primarily reduces gas-fired generation. A “knee” of the cost curve exists between 15% and 20% goals for 2020 in our central case, and higher natural gas prices lower the cost of greater reliance on renewables. A renewable energy production tax credit lowers electricity price at the expense of taxpayers and thus limits its effectiveness in reducing carbon emissions; it also is less costeffective at increasing renewables than a portfolio standard. Neither policy is as cost-effective as a capand-trade policy for achieving carbon emissions reductions.
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