A state in New England is set to become the fifth with a Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulation, specifying a minimum standard for renewables content in the energy supply mix. The standard goes into effect in Connecticut on July 1, 2000, the date that restructuring of the country's electricity market is also to start. Within just nine years, a minimum of 6% of the state's electricity must come from wind, solar, sustainable biomass, landfill gas or fuel cells. For the first year of restructuring, at least 0.5% is required. That minimum then increases by 0.25% for each of the next two years, until it is 1% in July 2002. It then rises by 0.5% yearly until the minimum is 3% in 2003, and by 1% annually until July 2009. When the state governor signed the RPS into law on April 2, as part of electricity restructuring, Connecticut joined Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, and Arizona, which all have similar provisions (Windpower Monthly, April 1998). Much of the credit for the introduction of an RPS in Connecticut goes to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), an environmental group in nearby Boston. "UCS believes the RPS is the most effective approach to capturing the public benefits of renewables," says Steve Clemmer of the UCS.
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