Why businesses should fight for Renewable Portfolio Standards

If you are in a sustainability- or green energy-related field, chances are that you've heard of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). What you may not know is that these laws, which require greater green power production, are under siege.

Although never breaking through to the federal level, several states have leveraged RPS laws very effectively to quicken the adoption of renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gases. This strategy has gained wide support within the business community. Sixty-three percent of small business owners representing all industries, for example, support a national version of the RPS, according to a recent poll commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council.

Unfortunately, the fossil fuel industry and its allies have set their sights on RPS laws. If you operate or are employed by any business today, you should be doing what you can to prevent this attack and support expansion of the strategy.

Cheaper renewable energy makes it easier for companies large and small to use more green energy and meet their sustainability goals. Many companies, such as AT&T, General Motors, HP and Google, for instance, have publicly stated targets for green power use. Even Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has set an aspirational goal to one day be powered 100 percent by renewable energy.

Another major business reason to support the RPS strategy is the economic growth that it brings. It creates certainty for businesses in the renewable energy industry as well as all related upstream and downstream industries. Certainty enables investors and entrepreneurs to take less risk when making expansion decisions. In some cases, there can be direct economic incentives, making renewable energy sources more cost-competitive with old-line, fossil-fuel energy sources that are subsidized both directly with tax-breaks and grants, and indirectly with an accounting system that allows them to pollute for free.

Wind turbine image by WDG Photo via Shutterstock.

Next page: A successful RPS