Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Renewable Energy Standard Introduced in US Senate

Yesterday, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced a bill for a national renewable energy standard (RES), which would require utilities to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The utilities would have to diversify their portfolios with wind, solar, biomass and other technologies. A bipartisan RES amendment passed the House in 2007, but Rep. Udall knows it will still be a tough battle for the bill to clear both chambers:
Make no mistake, I have no illusions that the road to enacting a proposal like this will be easy, and we have a lot of work ahead...I want to do everything possible its passage into law.
Under Udall's legislation, utilities are allowed to meet the requirements by buying credits from other entities that have stocked credits by producing renewable energy. Utilities can bank credits for four years and borrow credits for up to three years in the future. The law wouldn't cover municipal and other publicly owned power plants - rural electric co-ops would be also be exempt.

If passed, this law would not preempt any states that have tougher standards. Already, 28 states have renewable energy targets.

via Renewable Energy World


Anonymous said...

While I support an ambitious RES this strikes me as empty as the CAFE standards. What I mean by that is that CAFE was a liberal, well intentioned idea but it was rather ineffective because it ignored basic economics. One thing that people should have learned with the recent spike and crash in gasoline prices was that there is (and always has been) a price point that will make CAFE standards meaningless, not because they aren't achievable but because they are arbitrary, artificial and too low.

The point is at $4.00 a gallon we will far exceed any government imposed CAFE standards because people will naturally adjust to more fuel efficient cars which have been technologically possible for many decades now.

Fast forward to RES and the economics of it is still the big 800 pound gorilla in the room. Liberals want to feel good about trying to improve the world but aren't asking for sacrifice to bridge the gap. Learn from CAFE. Show some leadership and tax carbon (or create a carbon trading system) and the RES will fall by the wayside and be meaningless.

It's not complicated, it's basic goddamn Econ 101 stuff. Why don't liberals get it?

(PS If you are a liberal and are mad, don't worry, conservatives understand the economics (many like Sullivan, Mankiw, Krauthammer call for carbon taxes) they just don't seem to get Peak Oil nor do they understand Climate Change so they are even worse than liberals. It's just frustrating to hear liberals spout good goals and then screw up the means so badly)

Maria Surma Manka said...

Democrats and Republicans are talking about a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system at the federal level. Some sort of regulation is coming down the pipeline, and utilities and other energy companies have started taking positions as well (Xcel Energy, Exxon, et.

Renewable energy standards aren't a liberal policy either: They've been supported by Democrats and Republicans alike (for example, in Minnesota's case, a Republican Governor and bipartisan supporters in the legislature) because they help create a market for renewables that clean up our air, drive a new economy and increase our use of homegrown resources.

I agree that there needs to be personal responsibility/lifestyle changes as they relate to clean energy and energy efficiency. But it's also our personal responsibility to make sure Dems and Repubs are supporting good policies that help us create a cleaner and more efficient energy system.