Calls for the U.S. to institute a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) have come from corporations, politicians, and trade associationsalike. However the RES proposed in legislation introduced in the Senate yesterday was not necessarily what these advocates had in mind.
The Senate bill would require utility companies to generate 3% oftheir energy portfolios from non-hydro renewable energy sources (solar,wind, biomass, geothermal) or from energy effieicency improvements by2012.
Implementing a renewable energy standard — a requirement forutilities to obtain a certain amount of their power from renewableenergy sources — would allow for more energy independence as well asgreater use of cleaner energy sources in America.
Research from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows this bill will not produce either result as non-hydro renewableenergy sources accounted for 4.1% of electrical generation in the U.S.during the first half of 2010. This means without the help ofgovernment policy, the U.S. ever-growing renewable energy industry hasalready surpassed the proposed RES by 30%. In contrast, renewableenergy trade associations have called for a national RES of 25% by 2025.
Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, said,
"Creating a RES framework and starting [a] foundation is a worthygoal and the Senate bill should be supported for that reason. “However,inasmuch as the near-term targets have already been surpassed and thelonger-term targets are easily achievable, any criticism or oppositionby those who might suggest the renewable electricity targets would becostly, unrealistic, or otherwise burdensome should be dismissed asbeing disingenuous at best.”