RPS Aff & Neg3
Michigan Debate Institutes 2008
RPS 1AC – Contention 1 & Plan
Contention 1 is the Status Quo( ) Renewable Portfolio Standards being adopted by individuals States is creating an uncertain regulatoryenvironment for investors and fueling market distortions. Only a federal RPS can create a diverse and predictablenational renewable marketDr. Sovacool, & Cooper, 7
– *Senior Research Fellow for the Network for New Energy Choices in New York and AdjunctAssistant Professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in Blacksburg, VA and ** Executive Director of the Network for New Energy Choices(Benjamin K. Sovacool, also a Research Fellow at the Centre for Asia and Globalization at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and Christopher Cooper, Electricity Journal, “Big Is Beautiful: The Case for Federal Leadership on a NationalRenewable Portfolio Standard,” May 2007, vol. 48, no. 4, Lexis-Nexis Academic) // JMPState-based renewable portfolio standards (RPS) create regulatory uncertainty for investors and inherent inequities amongratepayers. Ultimately, federal legislation can help create a more just, diverse and predictable national market for renewableresources without significantly increasing aggregate electricity prices."There are times when we are 50 states and there are times when we're one country and have national needs. And the way Iknow this is that Florida did not fight Germany in World War II or establish civil rights." - (the fictional) President JosiahBartlett, The West WingArguably, we face no greater national priority than crafting a coherent national energy strategy. Americans face energychallenges over the next several decades - growing dependence on foreign sources of fuel, continued exposure to the threat of terrorist sabotage,1 increasing vulnerability to impending climate change, and environmental threats - that demand progressive federal leadership. Yet federal legislation to establish a national renewable portfolio standard (RPS) has failed noless than 17 times in the past 10 years.While supporting state-based RPS efforts, the Bush Administration has officially opposed a national RPS on the grounds thatit would create "winners" and "losers" among regions of the country and increase electricity prices in places where renewableresources are less abundant or harder to cultivate.2 In the meantime, 21 states (and the District of Columbia) have adoptedtheir own RPS mandates, and eight others - Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, andVirginia - are considering some form of RPS.With so much state-level action, one might be tempted to agree with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association(NRECA) that "activities on a number of fronts supplant the need for a federal RPS."3 But looks can be deceiving. Becausethe accumulated demand for electricity is expected to accelerate over the next several decades, the penetration of renewableenergy technologies in individual states, while noteworthy, is not likely to substantially alter the national fuel mix nor materially address the energy risks we all face.Framing the debate as a choice between a perfectly functioning, undistorted energy market and a clunky, artificial federalintervention, opponents of a national RPS tend to ignore the unique drawbacks associated with a complex web of state-basedmandates.4 Indeed, the most compelling argument for federal action is that a national RPS may help correct many of themarket distortions brought about by a patchwork of inconsistent state actions. Not only does reliance on state-based actionmake for an uncertain regulatory environment for potential investors, it creates inherent inequities between ratepayers insome states that are paying for "free riders" in others. Ultimately, federal legislation can help create a more just, more diverseand more predictable national market for renewable resources without significantly increasing aggregate electricity prices. Anational RPS may help correct many of the market distortions brought about by a patchwork of inconsistent state actions.
Thus we present the plan:The United States federal government should require that twenty percent of the electricity produced in the UnitedStates come from renewable energy resources by the year 2020, and establish renewable energy credits to facilitatethis goal.