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Renewable Energy Standards Driving up Costs

While some reports indicate energy providers are meeting standards when it comes to relying on renewable energy, diversity requirements across different forms of renewable energy as well as business costs are driving up costs for consumers.

It has led to some states putting efforts on hold while undertaking further studies.

However, some utilities are falling short when it comes to meeting diversity requirements that call for certain percentages to come specifically from solar, wind or other sources.

Xcel Energy, which serves parts of New Mexico, is on track to exceed the 15 percent renewable target. But it has asked state regulators to suspend the diversity requirements in 2015 and 2016 because the renewable resources already acquired have exceeded a threshold designed to keep costs reasonable for ratepayers.

In 2014, Ohio froze their requirements “to keep monthly utility bills from increasing and businesses from having to trim their use while the issue is studied.”

In Arizona, regulators are reconsidering requirements that utilities get a portion of their renewable energy from distributed sources such as customer solar systems rather than large, centralized plants. That has rooftop solar installers crying foul.

There are also industry concerns in New Mexico, where PNM has proposed charging solar customers a fee to help pay for maintaining the overall electric grid.

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