Markey bill would mandate that utilities buy renewables, boost efficiency

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced his first bill since joining the Senate earlier this year, aiming to require electric utilities to provide 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and to mandate reductions in energy use by both electric and natural gas utilities.

The bill is the second effort to create a nationwide renewable energy standard (RES), a long-standing goal of environmentalists and clean energy advocates who hope to build on existing policies in more than two dozen states. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) earlier this week introduced a 25 percent by 2025 RES, although their bill did not include the separate efficiency standard in Markey’s (E&ENews PM, Oct. 29).

When he was in the House, Markey co-sponsored with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) the 2009 cap-and-trade bill that passed the lower chamber but failed to gain traction among senators. That bill included a 20 percent by 2020 RES and would have allowed utilities to meet that target in part through efficiency improvements.

Today’s bill separates the renewable and efficiency requirements. Electric utilities would be required to obtain at least 25 percent of their supply from wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, biomass and other renewable sources by 2025. Separately, electric utilities would be required to implement efficiency programs by that time to save the equivalent of 15 percent of their sales. Natural gas utilities would be required to save the equivalent of 10 percent of their sales.

“It’s past time to scale up our clean energy deployment and innovation,” Markey said in a statement. “Let’s get American workers building and exporting wind turbines and solar panels that say ‘Made In America’ instead of the American economy importing millions of barrels of oil a day that say ‘Made by OPEC.'”