Democratic News

Making the Promise of Renewables Come True
 
Bingaman, Brownback To Introduce Renewable Electricity Standard Bill
 
 
A strong renewable electricity standard (RES) is an essential component of any forward-looking energy policy.  Not just an important part of such a strategy, but an essential component.  A national RES also will increase our energy security, enhance the reliability of the electricity grid by creating more homegrown renewable energy and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
 
Today, Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Sam Brownback (R-KS), joined by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Udall (D-CO) and others, will introduce a stand-alone Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) bill.  The legislation will require sellers of electricity to retail customers to obtain certain percentages of their electric supply from renewable energy resources.  The bill rapidly ramps up clean, domestic sources of electricity by requiring the gradual increase of the amount of renewable energy utilities produce.
Sen. Bingaman (D-NM):  “I think that the votes are present in the Senate to pass a renewable electricity standard.  I think that they are present in the House.  I think that we need to get on with figuring out what we can pass and move forward.”
Sen. Brownback (R-KS)“A sensible and modest renewable energy standard will help encourage home-grown supplies like wind in Kansas and help diversify our nation's energy sources.”
 
Sellers of electricity must obtain the following percentages of their electricity from renewable energy resources or from energy efficiency improvements:
 
YEAR  __                 %
2012-2013…….……..3
2014-2016…….……. 6
2017-2018…….……. 9
2019-2020………… 12
2021-2039………… 15
 
Utilities selling less than 4 million megawatt hours per year are exempt.
 
Qualifying renewables (including distributed generators) are wind, solar, ocean, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, incremental hydropower, hydrokinetic, new hydropower at existing dams and waste-to-energy.
 
Ways of meeting the standard are: Produce the specified amount of electricity or efficiency savings; purchase renewable energy or efficiency savings; Purchase renewable energy credits or energy efficiency credits from entities who have excess; Make alternative compliance payments to the Secretary at a rate of 2.1 cents per kilowatt hour. Payments are made directly to states whose utilities have paid into the fund, for development of renewable resources, or to offset increases in customer’s bills.
 
This federal RES will not affect state programs.
 
With only a few date changes and a couple of scoring/technical fixes, the 43-page bill is almost identical to the RES included in the bipartisan American Clean Energy Leadership Act, S. 1462.
 
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