founded in 1995, the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) is based in Washington, D.C. The organization researches strategies to make renewable sources competitive in energy markets and to stabilize carbon emissions. REPP supports reindus-trialization through the use of renewable technologies. It demonstrates that solar, wind, biomass, and other renewable sources can provide energy services at or below the cost of nonrenewables when structural barriers are removed. REPP works directly with states and firms to help them develop their renewable portfolio. The organization also provides expert information to consumers to improve energy efficiency and guide their transition to alternative energy options. To promote sales of renewable energy products and services, REPP created a buyer's guide and consumer directory for approximately 5,000 businesses.
REPP was initiated with support from the Energy Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. While financial support is determined on an annual or project-by-project basis, major donors have included the Oak Foundation, SURDNA Foundation, Turner Foundation, Bancker-Willimas Foundation, Joyce-Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, National Renewable Energy Lab, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. REPP's board of directors includes leaders from renewable energy businesses, the financial sector, environmental advocacy groups, regulators, government officials, and multilateral development institutions.
A core issue for REPP is assisting the United States to stabilize its carbon emissions using renewable energies. This goal would have a significant impact on the world's carbon balance given that the United States produces approximately two-sevenths of global carbon emissions. Half of this, or one of seven total global wedges, comes from electricity. REPP's use of the wedge concept builds from the work of Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow. Based on REPP's research, they suggest that mitigation of one wedge can be implemented with the annual production of 18,500 Megawatts of electricity from renewables.
REPP works with the renewable energy-component manufacturing sector to make it more transparent, facilitate entry, improve production, and promote growth. For example, wind energy requires rotors, towers, and generators. All the components for wind turbines can be produced domestically, and 25 states already have firms active in this manufacturing. REPP attempts to refine the supply chain to determine the exact specifications and avoid any potential bottlenecks as the use of wind power rapidly expands. This type of expertise has been underdeveloped and has slowed domestic manufacturing of renewable technologies. REPP also advocates for production tax credits for renewable energy projects.
REPP recently completed a state analysis for California, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona. The REPP state reports provide an explanation of how manufacturing potential is calculated, and offer detailed analysis showing for a state, region, and county the potential for each of the 43 industrial codes (NAICS codes) that comprise the major component parts for the major renewable energy technologies. REPP provides states with a web-based product to present analysis in a graphical manner.
A total of 16 states have created Renewable Portfolio Standards that mandate that they generate a percent of their electricity from renewable sources. REPP analyzes the experience of these states and tracks industries to determine whether costs have declined. In addition to stimulating demand for renewables, REPP state reports identify the specific firms that could benefit from an existing or proposed national program.
REPP has linked social and economic development to ecological concerns. The staff argues that renewables take advantage of resources, such as biomass or wind, that are currently underutilized or wasted. This can provide local economic support, labor benefits, and job creation. As REPP promotes wind energy development in North Carolina, the organization advocates for a variety of direct and indirect benefits to local communities. An important element of REPP's work is promoting public awareness of success stories, such as a Nevada bill in 2003 that provided economic incentive to participants using photovoltaics. The first Solar Energy Systems Demonstration Program resulting from the bill was created in conjunction with the Washoe Tribe. REPP acquired the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST) in 1999. CREST circulates policy briefs, fact sheets, and testimonials from
public officials. It hosts popular renewable energy discussion groups with topics such as green building, stoves, photovoltaic use, and bioenergy.
sEE ALso: Alternative Energy, Overview; Carbon Emissions; Department of Energy, U.S.
BIBLIoGRAPHY. Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow, "Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies," Science (v.305, 2004); Renewable Energy Policy Project, www.repp.org (cited June 2007); George Sterzinger and Jerry Stevens, Component Manufacturing: Michigan's Future in the Renewable Energy Industry (Renewable Energy Policy Project, 2006).
Mary Finley-Brook University of Richmond
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