NON-HYDRO RENEWABLE SOURCES ALREADY PROVIDING MORE ELECTRICAL OUTPUT THAN CALLED FOR BY 2013 IN NEW U.S. SENATE LEGISLATION
Proposed legislation introduced yesterday in the U.S. Senate would establish a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that sets targets for the year 2013 and beyond that are actually lower than the amount of non-hydro renewable electricity already being produced in the United States today.
Washington DC - Proposed legislation introduced yesterday in the U.S. Senate would establish a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that sets targets for the year 2013 and beyond that are actually lower than the amount of non-hydro renewable electricity already being produced in the United States today.
The Senate bill, sponsored by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Mark Udall (D-CO), would require sellers of electricity to retail customers to obtain 3% of their electricity from renewable energy resources or from energy efficiency improvements by the years 2012-2013.
Yet, according to the most recent issue of the "Electric Power Monthly" issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), non-hydro renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) provided nearly 4.1% of domestic U.S. electrical generation during the first half of 2010. Hydropower provided an additional 6.8% of net U.S. electrical generation for the same time period. **
Moreover, electrical generation from non-hydro renewable sources continues to grow rapidly. According to EIA data, electricity from biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind during the first six months of 2010 increased by 13% over the amount generated during the first half of 2009. Wind-generated electricity increased by 21.4%; electricity from solar thermal and photovoltaics rose by 16.4%; wood & other forms of biomass rose by 4.5%; and geothermal output increased by 0.8%.
Thus, inasmuch as the Senate bill includes incremental hydropower, hydrokinetic, and new hydropower at existing dams as well as energy efficiency improvements among the resources - in addition to biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind - that can contribute to the RES targets, it's obvious that the 2013 target has already been surpassed by 30% or more and the 2016 target of 6% is within easy reach.
"Creating an RES framework and starting foundation is a worthy goal and the Senate bill should be supported for that reason," noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "However, inasmuch as the near-term targets have already been surpassed and the longer-term targets are easily achievable, any criticism or opposition by those who might suggest the renewable electricity targets would be costly, unrealistic, or otherwise burdensome should be dismissed as being disingenuous at best."
** The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the "Electric Power Monthly" on September 15, 2010. It can be found at: http://www.eia.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/epm_sum.html. The most relevant tables from which the data cited above are extrapolated are Tables ES1.A, ES1.B and 1.1.A.
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The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1993 to promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.