Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is circulating around Capitol Hill a proposal that would allow nuclear and coal with carbon capture and storage technology to count toward the country’s clean energy mandate.
Graham’s “clean energy standard” is a potential threat to the support that Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) have garnered for their renewable energy standard legislation, which would require that a certain percentage of the country’s electricity come only from renewable sources like solar and wind. Republicans have long called for including nuclear and coal with CCS in the standard, but environmentalists and many liberal Democrats have bristled at the idea.
A summary of Graham’s proposal from his office says that the Bingaman-Brownback bill ”short changes nuclear power.” Graham’s proposal, the summary says, will “lead to a renaissance in nuclear power.”
When it comes to clean energy I have an ‘all of the above’ approach. I believe the CES I have introduced will reinvigorate our nation’s nuclear energy sector, create jobs, make us more energy independent, and produce a cleaner environment than other standards which have been discussed.
The standard can also be met through increased energy efficiency and retiring old coal-fired power plants. Wind, solar and ocean energy, like in the RES, are also eligible.
The proposal would require that 13 percent of the country’s electricity come from the sources by 2013 and 20 percent by 2020, ratcheting up by five percent every five years.