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The Other Renewable: Hydropower Upgrades and Renewable Portfolio Standards

A total of 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have in place mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) which require that a minimum amount of energy come from renewable resources. We investigate the role of hydropower vis-a-vis other renewables under RPS. Using a Bayesian multilevel model, we find that hydropower plants subject to RPS are more likely to plan upgrades. These planned upgrades appear to be a substitute for solar and wind rather than complementary reserve generation.

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Energy Specializations: Renewables – Hydroelectricity; Renewables – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes: Q42: Alternative Energy Sources, Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices, L94: Electric Utilities, Q54: Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming, Q20: Renewable Resources and Conservation: General, C51: Model Construction and Estimation

Keywords: Renewable portfolio standards, Hydropower, Bayesian methods, Multilevel models, Planned investment.

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.2.sfle

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Published in Volume 39, Number 2 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.