Center for American Progress

Introducing a More Aggressive Renewable Electricity Standard
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Introducing a More Aggressive Renewable Electricity Standard

To significantly boost investments in wind, solar, and other renewable power, the Senate must include a more aggressive renewable electricity standard in its energy and global warming bill expected on the floor this spring.

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Twenty-eight states—including the District of Columbia—require utilities to produce a proportion of their electricity from the wind, the sun, the earth’s core, and other renewable sources. In 2008 CAP recommended that President Obama support and Congress pass a nationwide renewable electricity standard of 25 percent by 2025.

ACES would require utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with utilities allowed to meet 3 percent of the target via energy- efficiency measures. The bill also requires utilities to reduce demand by an additional 5 percent.

On June 17, 2009, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed the American Clean Energy and Leadership Act, S. 1462. It would require a 15 percent renewable electricity standard by 2021, which allows utilities to meet 3 percent of this requirement via energy efficiency measures. The bill, however, has a weak enforcement mechanism that may ease noncompliance. An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists determined that “the amount of renewable energy required under the RES would be less than this level [15 percent], between 7.4 and 10.7 percent. This is worse–or at best—only marginally better than the amount of renewable energy generated without a national RES.” To significantly boost investments in wind, solar, and other renewable power, the Senate must include a more aggressive renewable electricity standard in its energy and global warming bill expected on the floor this spring.

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