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US senators introduce a bill to create a national renewable energy standard

Steel News - Published on Tue, 12 Apr 2011

Argus reported that democratic senators Mr Mark Udall (Colorado) and Mr Tom Udall (New Mexico) have introduced a bill this week to create a national renewable energy standard, taking up the effort started in 2002 when the cousins were in the US House of Representatives.

The bill would amend the Public Utility Regulation Act to require retail electric suppliers selling 1mn MWh/yr or more to meet 25% of their load by 2025 through generating renewable electricity, purchasing renewable energy credits or making alternative compliance payments to a state renewable energy account. Covered utilities would face an initial target of 6% by 2013, which will rise to 8.5% in 2014, 11% in 2016, 14% in 2018, 17.5% in 2020, 21% in 2022, 23% in 2024 and 25% in 2025 through 2039.

Solar, wind, biomass, ocean, tidal, geothermal, landfill gas, incremental hydroelectric generation or hydrokinetic power would qualify as renewable resources.

Unlike most existing state renewable mandates, which award RECs to every MWh generated by a qualifying renewable energy resource, federal RECs would be granted for every kWh of renewable energy generated by a qualifying facility.

In releasing their bill, the Udalls emphasized it would not pre empt states that have stronger standards. Utilities\' renewable energy or REC purchases or alternative compliance payments made to comply with a state renewable energy program would receive credit equal to one federal REC kWh. More than half of the US electricity market is covered by renewable generation standards in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

Any utility that installs an onsite renewable generation facility of 1 MW or less will receive three federal RECs kWh. Renewable energy facilities on Indian tribal lands would get two federal RECs kWh and facilities that co fire biomass with other fuels could receive two RECs kWh if the biomass is grown onsite.

Federal RECs could be banked for four years, and utilities would be able to borrow RECs from up to three years in the future. Any retail electric supplier unable to meet its renewable obligation could pay an alternative compliance payment, which would be set at either 200% of the average market value of federal RECs in the current compliance year or 3 cents per kWh, whichever is lowest. Publicly owned power plants, including municipal utilities, and rural electric cooperatives are exempt.

The bill specifies that at least 75% of the monies paid through the alternative compliance payment would go toward grants, incentives or other state renewable energy or energy efficiency programs.

The Udalls won passage of an RES amendment in the House in 2007, but it failed in the Senate.

Several attempts have been made to pass an RES in the Senate, including a bill sponsored by Mr Tom Udall and senator Mr Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) that passed the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, but never reached a vote by the full Senate.

President Mr Barack Obama has called for an 80% clean energy standard by 2035, which would include nuclear, natural gas and advanced coal generation along with renewable resources. Mr Bingaman is working with the White House to develop a clean energy proposal, and together with Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member Ms Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) recently called for stakeholder input on the design of such a mandate.

Mr Tom Udall said that \"We believe our legislation will help inform their process by showing the support and potential for a renewable energy standard to play a major part in any energy legislation.\"

According to Mr Mark Udall\'s press secretary Ms Jennifer Tallhelm, the bill was introduced on April 6th 2011 but no votes or hearings have been scheduled.

(Sourced from www.argusmedia.com)

Posted By : admin on Tue, 12 Apr 2011
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