State Renewable Portfolio Standards and the Commerce Clause - NR&E | Spring 2011
Encouraged by favorable tax treatment at the federal level and the enactment of mandatory renewable portfolio standards (RPS) by many states, the renewable energy industry has grown from being virtually nonexistent in 2000 to an important producer of electricity today. This growth is expected to accelerate. This article focuses on a common requirement in state RPS statutes—the specific location of the generating facilities. This is where energy policy objectives meet the goal of economic development. It is also where state legislatures’ desire to promote in-state development may conflict with the principles that states may not discriminate against interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution or enact regulations that unconstitutionally burden interstate commerce.