Applying a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard to Green Infrastructure
If a renewable energy portfolio standard can increase deployment of renewable energy, can a green infrastructure portfolio standard increase deployment of green infrastructure? CNT, American Rivers, and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative are working with Milwaukee and Grand Rapids, Michigan, to find out.
More than 30 states have adopted a renewable portfolio standard to increase the long-term production of electricity from renewable sources. The standard requires utilities to gradually increase the amount of renewable energy they produce or purchase over the course of twenty years or longer. More than 20 states have enacted a similar standard for energy efficiency improvements.
Green infrastructure—managing stormwater on-site with plants, trees, and grasses—provides a suite of cost-effective ecological and quality of life benefits not associated with conventional stormwater infrastructure. Despite the many benefits it creates for a community, however, green infrastructure is a relatively new concept that has not taken off as quickly as proponents like CNT think it could. This project will attempt to determine if a green infrastructure portfolio standard (GIPS) is a good mechanism for scaling up green infrastructure practices over time in a structured, predictable, and cost-effective way.
The project team will establish baseline conditions, performance goals, and related policies and procedures for Milwaukee and Grand Rapids to incrementally increase the volume of annual stormwater runoff that is retained where it falls. The GIPS will be useful in long-term community-scale green infrastructure planning and prioritization for the two cities.
At the end of the project, the team will report its findings to the U.S. EPA to ensure that any other local or regional government—or any entity with a significant stormwater management responsibility—has the information it needs to implement a GIPS of its own and immediately begin reducing flooding and water pollution in a cost-effective manner.
Be sure to sign up for CNT’s e-newsletter or check back here for more information as this project progresses.