By Gabrielle Hance
There are many instances where a renewable portfolio standard is not only advantageous, but practical. Many states have had success with their own RPS and are looking to increase it further. Some have even decided to increase the use of renewable energy by 1 percent per year. Once a state has established an RPS, renewable energy power plants would hopefully be built in order to increase the production of renewable energy power. Competition between companies producing these renewable energies might lower the cost of the resulting electricity. Adopting an RPS would reduce pressure on nonrenewable resources, therefore reducing the cost of worldwide energy consumption. There would also be less environmental damage – coal mining would no longer destroy the earth, ethanol and biodiesel may reduce pollutants, and greenhouse gases and global warming may be reduced.
There are a few reasons why Louisiana has not developed an RPS. Up to 60% of Louisiana’s power consumption is for industrial and commercial use. But, it is difficult for large businesses to use renewable energy as their main source of energy. Residential areas are better suited for adapting to renewable energy. Therefore, our state’s overall renewable energy use would increase very slowly, as residential areas slowly shift to renewable energy power. Also, building a hydroelectric dam or installing wind turbines would have a large initial cost and lasting environmental damage. Many so-called “renewable energies” are not even renewable or better for the environment! Biomass, an energy where plants are burned to generate electricity, would not decrease carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere due to burning. Nuclear energy, not yet considered renewable, produces significantly less amounts of harmful emissions than coal, but radioactive material must be stored for centuries after it is produced as a by-product of nuclear energy.
Should we set a standard for our state’s renewable energy use? Would a commitment to increasing the use of renewable energy promote Louisiana’s economy and send us into a “greener” future? Or would the pressure to create an RPS hurt our state’s investments? If you would like to learn more about Louisiana’s renewable energy use, visit the Alliance for Affordable Energy website at http://www.all4energy.org/. Louisiana’s official website offers a formal look at our state’s possible future renewable portfolio standard, athttp://dnr.louisiana.gov/sec/execdiv/techasmt/faqs/faqs_rps.htm.