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CONTACT: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
Emily Robinson, 202-331-5427
New Markey-Platts Bill Would Dramatically Boost Clean Energy Development
Legislation Would Put Nation on Path to Affordable, Cleaner, More Reliable Energy System
WASHINGTON - February 4 - The 25-percent-by-2025 renewable electricity standard bill introduced today by Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Todd Platts (R-Penn.) would boost renewable energy generation by 135 percent above and beyond current policies between now and 2025, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists' preliminary analysis of the legislation.
"This electrifying standard would provide a smart, proven, cost-effective strategy to ramp up our clean energy use, create tens of thousands of jobs, and lower consumer utility bills," said Alan Nogee, UCS Clean Energy Program director. "The clean energy tax incentives that Congress is finalizing will get us moving in the right direction in the near term, and the renewable energy standard makes sure we stay on that path for the foreseeable future."
Beginning in 2012, the legislation would require large electric utilities to gradually increase their reliance on renewable energy sources for the following 13 years until they amounted to 25 percent. UCS found that the 25-percent-by-2025 standard would add 135 percent more clean, renewable power in the United States above and beyond current state and federal policies. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia currently have state standards. UCS calculates that the federal standard would create enough clean electricity to power roughly 150 million typical homes by 2025.
In the coming weeks, UCS will release a more comprehensive analysis of a 25-by-2025 requirement that will include additional data on the effects of the national standard on consumer energy bills, job creation, economic development, and global warming emissions. Since the 1990s, the organization has been a leader in designing state and federal renewable energy standards and analyzing their benefits. UCS' RES Toolkit provides comprehensive information on each existing state renewable electricity standard for experts and concerned citizens alike. To access the RES Toolkit, go to: http://go.ucsusa.org/cgi-bin/RES/state_standards_search.pl?template=main.
Numerous studies by UCS, the federal government and others that have examined national renewable electricity standards have concluded they would save consumers money, reduce global warming emissions, and create thousands of new jobs. For instance, a 2007 study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that consumers would save $2 billion on cumulative electricity and natural gas bills from 2009 to 2030 under a 25-percent-by-2025 standard, while reducing power plant global warming pollution by 22 percent or 724 million metric tons by 2030. A UCS analysis of slightly different 20-percent-by-2020 standard-introduced in the House in 2007-found that it would create 185,000 new jobs from renewable energy development, generate $66.7 billion in new capital investment, and cut global warming pollution equal to removing 36.4 million cars from the road.
Excluding existing hydroelectric power, renewable energy currently accounts for only 2.5 percent of the nation's electricity output. But a number of studies conclude that its potential to provide a significant share of the U.S. energy mix is great. The Department of Energy, for example, projects that wind power alone could generate 20 percent of the nation's electricity by 2030.
"The 25 percent target is entirely achievable and will lower consumers' energy bills along the way," said Nogee. "President Obama campaigned for this standard, and now Congress should pass it. Everyone will benefit."