Bingaman introduces Clean Energy Standard Bill; natural gas, biomass, wind, solar set to gain

March 2, 2012 |

In Washington, Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012, introducing a Clean Energy Standard (CES), requiring a percentage of nation’s electricity to come from renewable sources such as biomass.

The bill summary says: “Over the past decade, Congress has debated proposals to promote renewable electricity generation from sources like solar, wind, geothermal or hydropower. Many of these proposals sought to implement a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that would set a standard for large utilities to provide a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. More than half of all states have implemented some form of an RES, but no federal standard has been enacted.

“In the current Congress, attention has focused on a CES rather than a policy focused solely on renewable energy. A CES is similar in structure to a renewable standard, but incorporates a broader range of qualified energy sources.

“U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) analyses suggest that this plan will drive a substantial increase in clean energy generation from a wide variety of clean sources. Early in the program, much of the clean generation is projected to come from existing natural gas plants running at higher capacity and from renewables (primarily wind and biomass). Later in the program, new clean generation comes primarily from renewables, nuclear, and coal and gas with carbon capture and storage.

The legislation in detail

A two-page summary of the bill can be found here.

A section by section summary is here.

The complete bill is here.

Industry reaction

“Momentum continues for moving America to an economy based on home-grown, renewable energy – one that’s proven itself to create jobs and bring prosperity to rural communities. Renewable energy is real and we are proud to help usher it in,” Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America said. “We thank Senator Bingaman for his strong and consistent leadership on energy issues. As the Senate debates the energy titles in the Farm Bill and the tax policies we need to help get steel in the ground, we hope others will follow his example.”

“Sen. Bingaman has established a strong, new cornerstone for building a cleaner electricity sector in America – one that reduces carbon pollution and encourages American innovation to develop and deploy more clean energy sources,” said Franz Matzner, associate director of government affairs for NRDC. “To meet these goals, final legislation will ultimately need complementary safeguards for our air, water and other natural resources, as well as a robust energy efficiency component. America needs to move forward to a clean energy economy that relies on renewable resources, not the dirty, old technologies of the past.  This bill is an important step in that direction, and Sen. Bingaman deserves praise for his tenacity in keeping these issues on the agenda.”

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Category: Policy

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