By Tom Tanton, E&E Legal’s Director of Science and Technology Assessment, and Julian Morris
Reason Magazine

More than half the states have renewable portfolio standards in place requiring certain and growing percentages of electricity to come from specified sources. Are these policies providing society with measurable benefit? Are they too costly for what they provide? In an attempt to answer this fundamental question, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory published a survey of estimates from the state regulatory agencies and utilities entitled A Survey of State-Level Costs and Benefits of Renewable Portfolio Standards. Unfortunately, the Survey failed to assess the quality of the estimates and ends up potentially misleading policymakers. The Survey has a number of structural and conceptual problems:

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