Carnegie Mellon University
May 10, 2013

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon Releases Policymaker Guide On Managing Variable Energy Resources

Contact: Chriss Swaney / 412-268-5776 /

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation released a new policymaker guide that provides recommendations for incorporating more variable energy resources — like wind — into the U.S. energy grid. The guide was released today at a Capitol Hill policy briefing.

"Today, variable energy resources produce only about 3 percent of U.S. electricity; however, CMU researchers have found that renewable energy's contribution to the grid could be 20 percent to 30 percent. As summarized in the Scott Institute guide, most of the proposed actions would not require new government subsidies, but instead call for refocusing of existing subsidies along with management, technical and operational changes," said Deborah Stine, associate director for policy outreach at CMU's Scott Institute.

Most states have a renewable portfolio standard — a policy designed to require or encourage electricity producers within a given jurisdiction to supply a certain minimum share (typically 15 to 30 percent of their electricity from designated renewable sources).

If policymakers, grid operators and independent system/regional transmission operators take actions, such as providing incentives to locate renewable facilities in the mid-Atlantic they will reduce the most pollution, establish appropriate decommissioning standards for wind power facilities as well as oil and gas wells, and encourage regulators and insurers to provide incentives to develop offshore wind facilities.

A key mission of the Scott Institute, established last fall, is to take a systems approach to energy issues – collecting information and research results throughout CMU – to provide an up-to-date understanding of energy issues facing today’s policymakers.

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