Senator Edward J. Markey, recently elected as the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, has introduced new legislation which encourages clean energy generation and energy efficiency, and has the potential to create 400,000 new jobs.
The American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act (S.1627), if passed into law, would require utilities to procure 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass, etc. by 2025.
S.1627 also requires both electric and natural gas utilities to improve energy efficiency by 2025. Electric utilities would need to improve energy efficiency equivalent to 15 percent of sales, while the natural gas utilities would have to improve their energy efficiency by 10 percent of sales.
Specifically, the bill seeks to amend title VI of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to introduce a federal electricity standard for retail suppliers, and a federal energy efficiency standard for electricity and natural gas suppliers.
Many states have already implemented similar standards. A full 30 U.S. states and D.C. have laws that require utilities to maintain a healthy mix of energy from renewable sources. Energy efficiency requirements are mandatory in 24 states.
The proposed bill, if it became law, would quadruple renewable energy production by 2025. It would reduce CO2 emissions by an annual 480 million metric tons by 2025, equivalent to the combined output of 120 coal-fired power plants.
An economic impact analysis of this bill and a similar bill (H.R.5967) with the same name that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last year by then Rep. Markey came up with following findings:-
- Number of jobs created if the legislation becomes law ‚Äì 400,000
- Average annual household savings from improved energy efficiency – $39
- Cumulative consumer savings through 2030 ‚Äì Nearly $90 billion
- New capital investments in the renewable energy technology – $200 billion
Senator Markey said that it‚Äôs past time to scale up the nation‚Äôs clean energy deployment and innovation, and to get American workers building and exporting solar panels and wind turbines that say ‚ÄúMade in America,‚Äù instead of America importing millions of barrels of ‚ÄúMade in OPEC‚Äù oil¬†every day.
The bill is supported by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club and a long list of environmental and renewable energy organizations and companies.
S.1627 was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Oct 31, 2013, and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.