Mark Udall Introduces Renewable Electricity Standards Bill


Increases to 25% Renewable Energy in Retail Energy Mix by 2025

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 17, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) today joined Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) to introduce legislation to establish a federal Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that would require electric utilities to produce 25% of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2025.

The bill would initiate a federal minimum standard mandating retail energy suppliers to diversify their portfolios with the first requirement of 6% for 2012, and consistently increase thereafter until meeting the 2025 goal.

The legislation is based on legislation introduced in the House of Representatives in 2002 by a bipartisan team led by the two Udalls and Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA). Their work helped build a coalition in the House that won passage of an RES amendment in 2007. Unfortunately, that amendment stalled in the Senate later in 2007.

In 2004, Udall played an instrumental role in establishing a RES in Colorado. He traveled across Colorado with the then-state House Speaker, Republican Lola Spradley, campaigning for passage of Amendment 37, which required 10% renewable energy production for the state by 2015. Coloradans approved this amendment, despite well-publicized objections from electricity providers. The Colorado legislature has since increased this RES to 20% by 2020, this time with the support of electricity providers operating in Colorado, who came to realize the bottom-line benefits of utilizing renewable sources of energy.

“This legislation is a long-overdue step toward energy security our country needs. The renewable energy goals this bill sets are significant. Our RES bill will create jobs, benefit farmers, save consumers money, reduce air pollution, and increase reliability and energy security,” Udall said.

“Introducing this RES bill today is just one of many steps that we must take to get a national RES to the President’s desk,” added Udall. “As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I am looking forward to working with Chairman Jeff Bingaman to get a strong national RES through the Senate.”

Earlier this week, Udall participated in an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to discuss the creation a national RES. His unique experience as a RES advocate at both the state and federal level, as well as a member of the key Senate Committee on this issue, makes him well positioned to move debate forward on a national RES.

Studies have shown that a national RES requiring electric utilities to diversify their portfolios with wind, solar, biomass, hydrokinetic and other renewable energy sources would:

• Create jobs: Wind and solar energy are likely to be among the largest sources of new manufacturing jobs worldwide during the 21st Century. A Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) study found that an RES would create hundreds of thousands of new American jobs;

• Reduce energy bills: Energy research firm Wood Mackenzie found that an RES would lower natural gas and electricity prices and save more than $100 billion for American consumers;

• Revitalize rural America: Farmers and rural land owners in windy areas are already receiving payments of $3,000-$8,000 per turbine per year, while still being able to work their land. The “wind harvest” can carry hard-pressed farmers through difficult times, such as droughts, even if crops fail;

• Strengthen energy security: Domestic renewable energy can reduce projected imports of liquid natural gas (LNG) from such unstable regions as Qatar, Russia and Iran (which together hold more than half the world’s gas reserves) and reduce U.S. energy payments to these nations; and

• Slow global warming: By displacing the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity, an RES can cut emissions of conventional pollutants and greenhouse gases. Suppliers can meet the federal requirements by purchasing credits from other entities that have obtained credits through renewable energy production. It also allows utilities to deposit credits for four years and to borrow credits from up to three years in the future.

Municipal and other publicly-owned power plants and rural electric co-ops would be exempted from the requirements.

Including Colorado, 28 states already have renewable generation standards with various timelines and targets. This legislation would not pre-empt states that have stronger standards.

Contact: Tara Trujillo at (720) 333-3425 or Adam Jones at (202) 224-6134


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