Gibbs plugs renewable electricity standard

Gibbs’s remarks come a day after Obama acknowledged that cap-and-trade legislation that passed the House last year will remain on ice for years after failing to advance in the Senate.

Obama — in his first remarks since the GOP reclaimed the House and made Senate gains on Election Day — listed natural gas development, nuclear power and electric cars as areas where the parties could advance energy policy.

But renewables mandates, while enjoying some GOP buy-in, are far more controversial in Republican circles than nuclear power and natural gas, which have strong GOP support.

The House approved an RES as part of a broad Democratic energy bill in 2007, and it was also included in the sweeping climate and energy bill the House narrowly approved last year. But RES plans have stalled in the Senate.

Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and retiring Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) are seeking lame-duck action on an RES that would require utilities to supply 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021, although about a fourth of the mandate could be met with energy efficiency measures.

They count a handful of Republicans — Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Klobuchar taking over Franken's sexual assault bill Lawyer: Kushner is 'the hero' in campaign emails regarding Russia MORE (Iowa), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsStates fill family caregiver void left by Congress GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal MORE (Maine) and John Ensign (Nev.) — among the measure’s 30-plus co-sponsors. But many Republicans oppose renewables mandates.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock Graham on Moore: 'We are about to give away a seat' key to Trump's agenda Tax plans show Congress putting donors over voters MORE (R-S.C.) has pushed for an alternative that would give credit to nuclear power and to electricity from coal plants that trap and store carbon emissions — a technology that has not been commercially deployed by power companies.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidVirginia was a wave election, but without real change, the tide will turn again Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor MORE (D-Nev.) has said a renewables bill lacks enough votes, although in late August he appeared to soften his reluctance to putting the measure in the lame-duck session mix.