Bingaman strategy: Court votes first, then approach Reid on renewables standard

Last year’s plan would require utilities to provide 15 percent of their power from renewable sources such as wind and solar energy by 2021, although about a quarter of the mandate could be met with energy-efficiency measures.

Reid had said before the August Senate recess that an RES lacks 60 votes and didn’t include the measure in a narrow energy bill he unveiled. But in late August, Reid said an RES is in the mix as he seeks to salvage energy legislation in a lame-duck session.

Bingaman said in a statement Monday that he believes the “votes are present” to move an RES and that “I think that we need to get on with figuring out what we can pass and move forward.”

He used somewhat softer language speaking to reporters Tuesday when asked whether there are 60 votes, saying, “I think there is a chance, and we will see.”