U.S. senator introduces bill which sets ‘clean energy standard’

The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 would use a market-based approach which encourages various energy generating technologies. It also sets a national goal for «clean energy.»

A bill which aims to assist the modernization of the United States power sector and guide it toward a future where more and more electricity is generated from low-carbon sources was introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico.

The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 would use a market-based approach which encourages various energy generating technologies. It also sets a national goal for «clean energy.»

«This legislation will help us make sure that we employ continued diversity in our energy sources, and allow every region to deploy clean energy using its own resources,» said Mr. Bingaman, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

«It also will make sure that we do all of this in a way that supports home-grown innovation and manufacturing and keeps us competitive in the global clean energy economy.»

In the proposal, all low-carbon energy generators are given credits based on their carbon emissions: more credits are awarded to those with lower emissions per unit of electricity, and vice versa.

A wide array of sources are allowed to be used to meet the standard – solar, wind, natural gas, nuclear, coal with carbon capture and storage, etc. – allowing the market to determine what mix of technology and fuel is most ideal, and making the adoption of new technology easier.

Those qualified as «clean» are given incentives, with the one using the cleanest resources getting more of them. Those having industrial efficiency, like combined heat and power units that produce electricity while also capturing and using heat for other purposes, are also being put into consideration as «clean generators.»

«The goal of the [bill] is ambitious – a doubling of clean energy by 2035. But analysis has shown that the goal is also achievable and affordable,» Mr. Bingaman said. «Meeting the [Clean Energy Standard] will yield substantial benefits to our health, our economy, [and] our global competitiveness.»

The bill received praise from the renewable energy sector, particularly the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Rhone Resch, president and chief executive of the association said removing market barriers and providing a competitive structure that allows the United States to recognize solar energy’s full potential is a top priority for America’s solar industry.

«We’ve already seen what well-structured clean energy standards have meant in states. They’ve opened electricity markets to allow for more competition from renewable sources of energy and ultimately drive down the cost of electricity for consumers,» Mr. Resch said.

«This success can be replicated at the national level. We applaud Senator Bingaman for taking a leadership role and introducing legislation to establish a national clean energy standard,» Mr. Resch added. – EcoSeed Staff

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