Thursday, September 30, 2010

Renewable Energy Stardard (RES) replaces Cap & Trade

The standard formerly known as the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) has morphed into the Renewable Energy Standard (RES) and many now want RES to be a Clean Energy Standard (CES).  Prince should glad he is not an energy lobbyist.

On Tuesday, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)  introduced a stand-alone RES bill (S. 3813 - ‘‘Renewable Electricity Promotion Act of 2010’’) that would mandate 15% of power to be generated by renewables — not 20% like the climate bill. At introduction there were 25 co-sponsors and four of the co-sponsors are Republicans. The bill would amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to establish a Federal renewable electricity standard.

According to Clean Technica [hat tip for map]:
States that already meet or exceed Renewable Energy Standards of 15% by 2021 would not be held back by the latest Democratic attempt to pass nationwide legislation requiring that utilities at least provide a minimum supply of clean energy. Many states already have requirements that exceed the 15% by 2020 requirement. However, that misses the intent of the bill. This bill pretty much just addresses just the 15 coal states that don’t have any RES legislation, the states that are the equivalent of “clunkers.”

At least five of the 15 get over 90% of their electricity from coal.  Hard-core coal states are not going to suddenly embrace clean power, like the Green States do. This is why it doesn’t matter that the new RES is not at the cutting edge of Renewable Energy Standards. Federal policy is not needed to drive the Green states. On the contrary, it is needed to finally get the 90% coal-powered Kentuckys and Alabamas to try clean energy.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is proposing a Clean Energy Stardard (CES) that would expand the definition of renewable energy to include nuclear and clean coal. Graham's proposal could draw away support from the Bingaman-Brownback bill, especially Republicans from states that generate large amounts of electricity from nuclear and coal.

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