Renewable electricity standard

Climate change legislation within reach… A President whose vision for revitalizing the economy is based on clean energy jobs… The U.S. reclaiming the world #1 position in wind power generation in 2008 for the first time in decades… Isn’t the future of renewable energy now assured?

Unfortunately, no.  Congress seems poised to let slip away a historic opportunity to secure renewable energy’s newly found momentum.  The single most effective policy to immediately create jobs and boost renewable energy development is a national renewable electricity standard (RES).  The good news is that an RES is included in proposed climate and energy legislation, thanks to Chairmen Waxman and Markey in the House and Senator Bingaman in the Senate. The bad news is that the RES has been weakened to the point that the proposals now won’t provide the strong incentive needed for companies to continue to invest in manufacturing facilities here in the U.S.  For example, the House version calls for 20% by 2020—which sounds reasonable at first blush. But the start date is not until 2012 when, under the current definitions and provisions, the target for renewables is only in effect 3 to 4 percent of total generation, and by 2020, the renewable portion of the standard could be as little as 12%.  

It’s time to strengthen the RES so that it will provide the signal businesses need to invest in new factories, employ thousands of Americans, and ensure the United States does not cede manufacturing investment and jobs to other countries that are rapidly building up their renewable energy industries.   June 15 is Global Wind Day.  Here in the U.S., we will celebrate the fact that our nation is now #1 in the world in wind power generation.  We need a strong national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)  to keep this momentum, seize this moment in history, and create tens of thousands of jobs here in the U.S.