Renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) are powerful state-level climate policy tools that set minimum renewable energy targets. They have been adopted by 29 states, in the United States (U.S.) as well as Washington, D.C., and have fueled much of the growth in the U.S. renewable energy sector. However, because these policy tools are state-driven, the technologies and fuel types included in each state’s RPS vary. In this article, I discuss the inclusion of municipal solid waste in Maryland’s RPS, and a social movement for environmental justice that has emerged around this decision. Given the prominence of RPSs in both fueling renewable energy adoption in the U.S., as well as in encouraging particular technologies, it is increasingly important to interrogate the types of technologies and fuel sources that climate policies like RPSs incentivize, and how they are received by the communities for which they are proposed. Thus, this article’s objective is to inspire critical thought about the classification schemes that govern renewable energy production.

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