By Lydia Wheeler - 05/12/15 01:34 PM EDT
Senate Democrats want to create a national renewable electricity standard to create jobs, save consumers money and reduce pollution.
The bill unveiled Tuesday that would require utilities to generate 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, starting with an 8 percent requirement by 2016 followed by gradual increases.
Sen. Tom UdallTom UdallHonor Frank Lautenberg by protecting our kids House, Senate roll out chemical safety compromise Overnight Energy: Lawmakers closing in on chemical safety deal MORE has introduced this legislation in every session of Congress since 2008. The bill is based on his bipartisan initiative that passed the House in 2007. Co-sponsors this time around include Sens. Edward MarkeyEd MarkeyDem senators call for sanctions on Congo Honor Frank Lautenberg by protecting our kids Sanders pans chemical safety reform deal MORE (D-Mass.), Martin HeinrichMartin HeinrichOvernight Energy: Senate Dems block energy, water bill a third time Bison declared national mammal The myth of favorite son and daughter vice presidents MORE (D-N.M.), Michael BennetMichael BennetDems see political gold in fight over Trump's taxes GOP Senate hopeful wants to go beyond Trump's Muslim ban Lawmakers push to elevate Cyber Command in Senate defense bill MORE (D-Colo.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySanders tests Wasserman Schultz Honor Frank Lautenberg by protecting our kids Dems discuss dropping Wasserman Schultz MORE (D-Ore.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's 12:30 Report Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Honor Frank Lautenberg by protecting our kids MORE (D-R.I.) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii).
“A national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) will help slow utility rate increases and boost private investment in states like New Mexico — all while combating climate change,” Udall said in a news release. “Investing in homegrown clean energy jobs just makes sense, and that’s why I’m continuing my fight for a national RES.”
Because more than half of all states have successful RES policies with specific timelines and target standards, the federal policy would not preempt stronger standards already in place at the state level.
An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that a 30-by-30 RES would save consumers $25.1 billion in cumulative electricity and natural gas bills from 2015 to 2030, drive $294 billion in cumulative new capital investments from 2015 to 2030 and provide an additional $3.4 billion in new local tax revenues and wind power land lease payments to landowners through 2030.