Lincoln Davies, an Associate Professor of Law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, has written an article titled “Power Forward: The Argument for a National RPS” that has been accepted for publication by the Connecticut Law Review and will be the featured piece for its next issue.
Davies’ article addresses why the federal government has failed to adopt a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) — laws that require utilities to acquire a percentage of their energy from renewable resources — when 70 percent of states already have done so and numerous bills have been introduced in Congress to create a national RPS. In addition, the article examines existing state laws and concludes that the current state-based regime creates a world where there is no single market for renewables. Davies research leads him to conclude that everything, from what counts as renewable to how renewable energy production is measured, differs state by state. States also have erected barriers to selling renewable energy across state and regional boundaries.
“I wrote the article in part based on my interest in why energy regulation and environmental law continue to work in separate spheres, despite the fact that what they each regulate are intrinsically related. RPSs begin to link the fields by infusing an environmental objective into energy law,” Davies says.
The article reaches its conclusion using three tools: a multi-state survey of state RPSs; a newly developed metric of state RPS design, their “efficacy tendency;” and extant data on RPS performance. Finally it suggests that another overlooked rationale argues for a federal law: that a national RPS can help energy and environmental law merge.
The Connecticut Law Review publishes an issue each year in which they choose a lead or “centerpiece” argument on which the issue focuses. They then solicit leading scholars in the field to submit commentaries on the centerpiece article, and the author of the centerpiece article, if s/he so chooses, has an opportunity to respond.
“My understanding is that those who have committed to comment on my piece include Joshua Fershee (University of North Dakota), John Herrick (University of Denver), Jim Rossi (Florida State), and David Spence (University of Texas),” Davies explains.