On a call with reporters today, a coalition of renewable energy groups called for passage of a renewable energy standard before the August recess as part of an energy-only package based on the bill passed last summer by Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s (D-N.M.) Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
But the groups called for a stronger RES than the one included in the Bingaman bill, which would require that 15 percent of the country’s electricity come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2021. The coalition is calling for an RES of 12 percent by 2015, 20 percent by 2020, and 25 percent by 2025.
That effort is consistent with the longtime goal of many environmentalists, who have stepped uptheir calls for a stronger RES in recent weeks as prospects for passage of a utility-only cap on greenhouse gas emissions dim.
Today’s call included executives from Iberdrola Renewables, the world’s largest renewable energy developer and owner, as well as the National Hydropower Association and the Biomass Power Association. Speakers on the call stressed the potential for an RES to create jobs in the renewable sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
An RES has a “much better chance of passing at this point in time than some of the other provisions like cap-and-trade,” said Don Furman, vice president for external affairs at Iberdrola, adding that he’d like to see the Bingaman bill come to the floor before the August recess with a strengthened RES. But, he acknowledged, “We’d be crazy not to admit that time is short.”