Oregon Senator calls for carbon price in 100% renewable plan

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporte • Posted: Friday, September 23, 2016

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) took to the Senate floor yesterday to outline details of his plan for 100 percent renewable power as a tool to fight climate change.

Merkley said his “100 by 50” plan would call for a carbon price and several other principles, including utilizing energy efficiency standards, converting “all electricity generation from fossil fuel electrons to green electrons,” and increasing research and development on new technologies.

He said legislation, which was still in the drafting process, may also include “carefully constructed” carbon offsets to phase out fossil fuels.

Merkley said his plan would call for no more than 50 percent of national power to be from fossil fuels by 2030 and a complete fossil fuel phaseout by midcentury.

“We need a bold plan to save our beautiful blue-green planet from the ravages of global warming,” Merkley said.

The Oregon Democrat originally announced his clean energy strategy at the Netroots Nation conference this summer. Environmentalists like 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben are backing the proposal (Greenwire, July 18).

There has been pushback in Congress against increasing renewable power subsidies, with some lawmakers saying that technologies like wind and solar should compete on their own.

In its recent annual energy outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected that renewables would make up about 27 percent of electricity by 2040.