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In recent years, renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which require a certain percentage of electricity sold to consumers to come from renewable resources, have been established by many state governments to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants in the United States. Nevada’s RPS set a target of 50% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. By coupling the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s AVoided Emissions and geneRation Tool (AVERT) and CO–Benefits Risk Assessment (COBRA) model, this study assesses potential emission reductions from fossil fuels owing to this requirement and regional health benefits via improved air quality, as well as how these benefits vary spatially under high and low projected electricity demands in 2030. Successful implementation of the RPS could produce health benefits equivalent to USD 3–8 million per year for Nevada residents and up to USD 164 million per year for the entire U.S. Nevada is ranked only 6th among states benefiting from the policy, while California and Washington obtain the most health benefits. There is also inequity among Nevada counties, partly caused by the county population and proximity to major fossil fuel power plants. Lowering electricity demands by 5% in Nevada would lead to a ~10% increase in health benefits. These findings should empower public support of RPS policies and energy conservation to reduce air pollution and public health inequity for the region.
RPS; PM2.5; AVERT; COBRA; Health inequity; Health disparity
Environmental Public Health
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Buttner, M. P.,
Bloomfield, E. F.
Air Quality Health Benefits of the Nevada Renewable Portfolio Standard.