8 June 2009 — The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved changes to a proposed renewable energy standard, which would require utilities selling more than 4 million MWh a year to obtain 15 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2021. Utilities could choose to use energy efficiency for 4 percent of that.
Changes to the renewable electricity standard approved by the committee include:
- Removing from a utility’s baseline any new nuclear energy (including uprates) and energy made from fossil fuels equal to the amount of greenhouse gases captured and sequestered by a power plant
- Adding nuclear and clean coal as eligible recipients for state grant funding from alternative compliance payments
- Allowing a state regulatory commission or electric utility to ask the Energy Department for a variance from the standard for one or more years if transmission constraints prevent delivery of service
- Allowing resources from innovative technologies to be considered “renewable” as decided by the secretary of energy.
Amendments to raise the standard to 20 percent or 25 percent were rejected or withdrawn, but likely will be offered when the bill gets to the Senate floor.