FEDERAL, State & provincial POLICIES


Key Legislation & Programs:

Renewable Portfolio Standard

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A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a law or statutory program that requires retail electricity suppliers to generate or procure a minimum percentage of electricity from eligible renewable energy sources.

Twenty-nine (29) States and the District of Columbia have mandatory RPS laws. Seven (7) States have non-binding goals.

None of the RPS laws or programs are identical. A typical law includes a percentage to be met and a date to meet it by. For example: California requires municipal and investor owned utilities to generate or procure 33% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. RPS mandates are often backed by penalties for non-compliance and statutorily limit the impact on the consumer’s rate (most below 10%, 13 States below 5%). 

Generating electricity from renewable sources like Renewable Natural Gas helps states meet their RPS policy goals of ensuring stable, diversified energy portfolios that are not overly dependent on fossil fuels. 

Renewable Fuel Standard

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency requiring transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel. The original RFS program was created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The program was expanded (RFS2) under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 to require 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel blended into gasoline or diesel by 2022.

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RFS2 was established to achieve significant pollution reduction, including greenhouse gas emissions, reduce imports of foreign oil, and encourage expansion of U.S. renewable fuel industries.

Renewable Natural Gas meets the highest standards of RFS2 for lifecycle GHG emissions reduction. 

Low Carbon Fuel Standards

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California Low Carbon Fuel Standard

The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is the California regulation that requires a 10% reduction in transportation fuel carbon intensity by 2020. The LCFS requires fuel providers to meet reduction targets by selling more low-carbon fuels, reducing carbon intensity of fossil fuels, or purchasing credits from producers who supply low carbon fuels. The ARB reauthorized the LCFS in 2015. 

Midwest Low Carbon Policy

Midwestern Governors Association advisory group on low carbon fuel policy issued a 2010 report recommending a regional approach as a next best alternative to a comprehensive federal policy. The report recommended a 10 % reduction in 10 years. No midwest state has adopted a LCFS in response. 

Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Clean Fuels Standard

Governors of CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PN, RI, and VT signed a 2009 memorandum of understanding committing to develop a regional low carbon fuel standard. All states have adopted laws to achieve 80% reduction from 1990 levels of GHG emissions. A regional LCFS has not adopted. Efforts continue with policy support from Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management. 

Oregon Clean Fuels Program

The Clean Fuels Program (CFP) is the Oregon law that requires a 10% reduction in transportation fuel carbon intensity in 10 years.  Oregon adopted Phase I of the CFP in 2009 to study the impact of such a reduction. The Oregon Legislature authorized a full implementation of the CFP in 2015. 

Washington Low Carbon Fuel Standard

The Washington Department of Ecology studied the LCFS between 2009–2011 and subsequently released a report suggesting carbon reductions beginning in 2014. No policy has been adopted by the state. 

British Columbia Renewable & Low Carbon Fuel Requirements Regulation

The RLCFRR is a regulatory framework supporting BC’s goal of 33% GHG reduction by 2020. Under the Renewable Fuel Requirement gasoline and diesel must have at least 5% renewable content. A 10% reduction in fuel carbon intensity by 2020 is mandated by the Low Carbon Fuel Requirement. 

European Union Fuel Quality Directive

Article 7a was added to the European Union’s Fuel Quality Directive in 2009 to require fuel suppliers to reduce carbon intensity by 6% for transportation fuels supplied to the EU. The Directive is integrated with the EU’s Renewable Energy Energy Directive. Both policies obligate Member States to enforce targets.