New Mexico – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today introduced bipartisan legislation to create the first-ever national renewable electricity standard (RES).
Under the proposal, electric utilities would be required to produce at least 11 percent of their power from wind, solar, biomass and other renewable sources of energy; the remaining 4 percent could be achieved through energy efficiency improvements.
States like New Mexico that have a higher RES would not be affected by the bill. But states that have no RES or a lower one would have to comply with the 15 percent RES. Utilities selling less than 4 million megawatt hours per year are exempt.
"Shifting our country toward home-grown renewable energy will create jobs and help reduce carbon pollution. I believe there is strong support for this bipartisan bill and I hope we can pass it through Congress in the coming weeks," said Bingaman, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and has for years pressed for passage of legislation that would require utilities to produce a portion of their electricity through renewable sources.
"A national RES has been a top priority for me going back to my time as a member of the House of Representatives. I believe this bill represents our best chance to get America running on homegrown energy in 2010," Udall said. "This bill will create jobs and help position the United States as a world leader in renewable energy manufacturing. I commend Senator Bingaman for his leadership on this issue, and I am pleased to be part of a bipartisan effort to enact a national RES this Congress."
The Senators are working to secure 60 cosponsors so that the bill can be brought up for consideration before Congress adjourns later this year. Cosponsors include Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), John Ensign (R-NV), Mark Udall (D-CO) and Susan Collins (R-ME).