It looks like carbon cap is going to remain a dream and not a reality for environmentalists, but there is hope that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s energy bill will cover more than an oil spill measure. Last week Reid said his bill does not include a renewable energy standard (RES) or a mandatory percentage of the country’s electricity coming from green sources. Today a few Democrats and even a Republican have shown that they are keen on including an RES. Republican Senator Sam Brownback (Kansas) said though he’s against the carbon cap in energy bill, he’s in favor of a national RES.
Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas said that he was still against a carbon cap in an energy bill. Kansas produces 2.9% of its electricity from renewable sources and is a wind rich state. Environmentalists are pushing aggressively for strong RES in any energy bill, but many times polices on renewable energies are forced to stop and start again.
Growth in wind or solar is backed by generous tax subsidies, but when the supporting policies are allowed to expire, the industry falls apart. By making it a must for America’s utilities to shift some of their production to clean energy, an RES could be the support the renewable power industry needs for the long term. This would also create more new job opportunities.
Iowa Governor Chet Culver said there is a need for a goal if people are serious about green collar job creation. His state produces 20% of its electricity from wind. He said he has pleaded with Congress to pass the renewable electricity standard because the country’s energy future is dependent upon it.
All depends on the votes in the Senate. Majority Leader Reid said there is no filibuster proof majority in the Senate for an RES. Reid ‘s predecessor , former senate majority leader Tom Daschle told reporters that he has bipartisan support for an RES and required 60 votes for achieving it. However Reid is the voice that is being heard because he’s in the senate. Daschle could not match in the elections in 2004. However the idea should eventually come to the surface that having a national RES is not bad at all.
Last June, New Mexico Democrat Jeff Bingaman led the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee into moving a bill with bipartisan support that has a national RES of 15% by 2020. The house passed a more aggressive 20% by 2020 RES last June as part of the Waxman Markey bill in 2009, which still languishes waiting for senate approval. As the government looks for green energy solutions and calls for de-carbonizing and diversifying electricity supply, the renewable energy industry is growing at a rapid pace worldwide, even without a RES. By passing a national standard, the senate would send a strong message to the public and investors that it’s very aware of the energy and climate crisis.