Energy Bill Modest Step Forward for Clean Energy, but Falls Short of What’s Necessary

Statement by Rob Cowin, the Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jul 31, 2015

WASHINGTON (July 30, 2015) – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed a bipartisan energy bill with a vote of 18-4.

Below is a statement by Robert Cowin, director of government affairs for the Climate and Energy Program at UCS, that describes the organization’s view on the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

“As it currently stands, this bill offers modest progress toward modernizing our electric grid and better utilizing renewables. For example, the Energy Policy Modernization Act contains provisions that invest in research and development of clean energy technologies, increase confidence in grid storage, and provide training opportunities for displaced coal workers.

“However, in order for our nation to rapidly transition toward a clean energy economy, the Senate will need to amend this bill or pass complementary legislation that addresses the big-ticket items notably absent. To truly make an impact in reducing harmful carbon pollution, Congress should also adopt a strong national renewable electricity standard, ensure utilities safely incorporate large-scale storage projects, and increase equitable access to renewable energy, like solar, within low-income communities. Ultimately, the bill must be strengthened on the Senate floor in order to adequately address the urgent climate crisis we are currently facing.”