Udalls revive push for renewable power standard

An RES has long been a pillar of Democratic and green group energy plans and passed the House in recent years under Democratic control. But efforts to steer an RES through the Senate last year collapsed, and the terrain has only gotten tougher, now that Republicans control the House and increased their Senate numbers.

President Obama — who backed an RES when running for president — in January pivoted and called for a wider “clean energy standard” that would require 80 percent of U.S. electricity to come from low-carbon sources by 2035, including renewables, natural gas, nuclear power and coal plants that trap and store carbon emissions (a technology that isn’t commercialized).

But Obama’s plan faces considerable GOP opposition despite its endorsement of nuclear power, gas and clean coal.

Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) — who has offered RES plans in the past — is working with the White House on the “clean energy standard” proposal, and recently solicited input on the concept alongside Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the panel’s ranking member.

“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,” said Udall, the New Mexico senator, in a statement.