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National Renewable Electricity Standard Campaign

Updates, resources, and how you can help ensure clean, renewable energy for America.

A strong national renewable electricity standard (RES) would reduce global warming pollution, create “green” jobs, and save consumers money.  An RES would require utilities to generate an increasing percentage of their electricity from clean, renewable resources such as the sun, wind, heat from the planet’s interior, and plant and animal waste. 

Contents:
1.  UCS analysis of the benefits of a strong RES
2.  Action: Steps you can take to help pass a strong RES
3.  History and Congressional Update (Senate and House of Representatives)
4.  Letters in support of an RES
5.  More information

Benefits of the Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)

  • Currently, twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have enacted enforceable renewable electricity standards.  However, a strong federal-level RES would create a national market for renewable energy and would lead to additional renewable energy generation.  Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) analysis shows that a 25 percent RES would create a large and growing market for clean, renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, geothermal, and bioenergy. According to UCS analysis, a 25% national RES would:
  • save consumers $64.3 billion by 2025 and $95.5 billion by 2030 in their electricity and natural gas bills;
  • create 297,000 new, green jobs;
  • produce $263.4 billion in new capital investment; and
  • take the equivalent of 45.3 million cars off the road through reducing the global warming pollution from power plants.


The creation of a renewable energy market through an RES is crucial for the development of renewable energy technology and is a key component of energy and climate legislation.

Action - Steps you can take to promote RES:

Thousands of UCS members and others are telling their senators and representatives in Washington that they want to increase renewable energy generation and reduce our dependence on dirty energy sources like coal. Here are three quick and easy steps you, too, can take to help pass a strong renewable electricity standard:

Status in Congress

Since 2002, the U.S. Senate has passed an RES bill three times. In 2007 and again in 2009, the House of Representatives passed an RES.  However, a federal RES has never been passed through both houses of congress.

Senate
In June 2009, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee passed the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA), which contains an RES requirement of 15 percent by 2021. Approximately three percent of that goal may be met through energy efficiency measures. In addition to its low standard, UCS believes the ACELA RES has other serious shortcomings. UCS analysis details how the various provisions weaken in the senate RES lower the renewable energy generation to levels at or below business as usual. A separate bill (S. 433) introduced by Senators Tom and Mark Udall that establishes a 25% RES by 2025 has been referred to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. 

See more information on the National Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) Senate Status.

House of Representatives
In June 2009, the House of Representatives passed an RES as part of a comprehensive climate and energy bill (H.R. 2454), the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). Originally H.R. 890, the RES as passed was nominally a 20 percent by 2020 standard, but was weakened with various utilities exemptions and other provisions.

See more information on the National Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) House Status.

Letters in Support of an RES

Letter from an agricultural coalition

Letter from SACE/UCS

Letter from UCS and coalition of 14 organizations

More Information

Clean Energy, Green Jobs (2009)
What is a Renewable Electricity Standard and how does it work?
National Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) Senate Status
National Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) House Status
See the benefits for the Southeastern United States
Key Driver of Renewable Energy: Experts Agree: Renewable Electricity Standards are a Key Driver of New Renewable Energy Development
Global Warming Solution: Mitigating Global Warming—Renewable Electricity Standards
Text of S. 1462 (Bingaman bill)
Text of S. 433 (Udall Bill)
Text of S. 1733 (Boxer-Kerry Bill)
Text of H.R. 890 
Text of H.R. 2454 (ACES)

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