Marten Law Group: Federal Renewable Electricity Standard Takes Shape
  • 06-26-2009 | 03:46 PM
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Marten Law Group: Federal Renewable Electricity Standard Takes Shape

In this Emerging Issues Analysis, Alyssa Moir of Marten Law Group reports on the Renewable Electricity Standard that may be enacted by Congress this year. The House's Renewable Electricity Standard is contained in the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. At the same time, the Senate is considering its own Renewable Electricity Standard provision in the draft energy bill that is presently being reviewed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“The Waxman-Markey climate change bill, which passed out of the House Energy Committee in May 2009 and is awaiting action in several House committees, and is possibly slated for consideration by the full House later this summer, would create a federal Combined Efficiency and Renewable Electricity Standard,” Ms. Moir writes. “Renewable Electricity Standards, already established in many states, mandate that utilities replace some portion of their hydrocarbon-based electricity with renewable energy sources.”
“The Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) proposed by the current House climate change bill would require utilities to obtain 15 percent of their load capacity from renewables by 2020, but would allow states to drop down to 12 percent as long as utilities make corresponding increases through energy efficiency. The Senate draft is slightly less aggressive, requiring a mix of 15 percent renewables one year later, in 2021, but allowing a fourth of the requirement to be met by energy efficiency. In contrast, existing state programs are as high as 33 percent by 2020 in California, and 25 percent by 2013 in New York.”
“Key components of an RES design include setting compliance benchmarks and deadlines, designating and defining eligible renewable sources, and setting up a tradable credits mechanism. This article examines each component of the RES bill pending currently in the House, and concludes with a brief comparison to developments in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee draft,” Ms. Moir explains.