An Inquiry into the Balance Between Federal and State Energy Policy in the Southeast
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Many policies have been proposed to address America’s growing energy needs, but a broad-based compromise is often constrained by regional differences. It is important to highlight the regional benefits of potential energy policies that drive renewable generation. North Carolina enacted a renewable portfolio standard in 2007 known as the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Standard (REPS). This was significant because a mandatory renewable energy requirement was passed through a state legislature in the Southeast for the first time and in a region where power markets are heavily regulated. Our energy modeling endeavor forecasts the results of other Southeastern states adopting a similar renewable portfolio standard, along with various levels of federal action. Our results indicate that a coordinated renewable portfolio standard throughout the Southeast could reduce wholesale electricity prices by $6 per megawatt hour and mitigate carbon dioxide emissions by 18 million tons in North Carolina relative to other policy alternatives by 2025. Our analysis utilizes two distinct energy models to evaluate the impact of federal and state energy policies. By incorporating the Department of Energy’s National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) and the AURORAxmp models, we are able to perform a robust scenario analysis that tests political ideologies, congressional action, and federal agency regulation. The results allow us to identify potential outcomes of renewable portfolio standards within the reality of an uncertain energy future.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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