For complete article: www.thehill.com
by Lydia Wheeler
Senate Democrats want to create a national renewable electricity standard to create jobs, save consumers money and reduce pollution.
The bill unveiled Tuesday that would require utilities to generate 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, starting with an 8 percent requirement by 2016 followed by gradual increases.
Sen. Tom Udall has introduced this legislation in every session of Congress since 2008. The bill is based on his bipartisan initiative that passed the House in 2007. Co-sponsors this time around include Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii).
“A national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) will help slow utility rate increases and boost private investment in states like New Mexico — all while combating climate change,” Udall said in a news release. “Investing in homegrown clean energy jobs just makes sense, and that’s why I’m continuing my fight for a national RES.”
Because more than half of all states have successful RES policies with specific timelines and target standards, the federal policy would not preempt stronger standards already in place at the state level.
An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that a 30-by-30 RES would save consumers $25.1 billion in cumulative electricity and natural gas bills from 2015 to 2030, drive $294 billion in cumulative new capital investments from 2015 to 2030 and provide an additional $3.4 billion in new local tax revenues and wind power land lease payments to landowners through 2030.