There are 29 states (and the District of Columbia) with RPS goals in effect, but the average amount of renewable energy required in those states is much less than in California. For example, Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard is 20 percent by 2022.
California made history last year by committing to the higher standard and the state has so far responded positively to the mandate. According to Renewable Energy World, “As of July 2012, each of the three major investor-owned utilities were showing that about 20 percent of the energy they provide to their ratepayers comes from renewables and many other projects are underway.”
California has so far been up to the challenge, following the structure of the RPS up to now. Utilities in the state are required to meet 20 percent of retail sales from renewables by the end of next year and 25 percent by the end of 2016, building to the ultimate goal of 33 percent by 2020.
But industry experts and analysts question the practicality of the goal. Getting the amount of renewable energy projects required to meet the goal is a daunting, expensive tasks. Renewable Energy World stated that “many experts believe that the state just doesn’t have enough in place to seal the deal.”
Among the barriers California must overcome are budget constraints that have plagued the state for the last several years, preventing necessary infrastructure upgrades like transmission line upgrades. State incentives that are vital to getting solar and wind projects developed in California are also in jeopardy as the state struggles to overcome a $16 billion budget deficit.