Lately, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) has been pushing for bipartisan support for energy legislation to create a nationwide Renewable Energy Standard (RES). Brownback’s new stand-alone bill, introduced along with Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), aims to establish a mandatory percentage (15%) of renewable electricity generation as part of utilities’ overall power output by 2021. It’s unclear whether the bill will pass, but it is clear that this group of senators is out of touch with Americans.
In a press release, Senator Brownback explains, “With unemployment still hovering close to 10%, the American people have no appetite for legislation that would hurt our economy, while doing little to reduce global temperatures. I would argue that most Americans believe that in addressing any challenge, it’s necessary to adopt a balanced, pragmatic strategy. In this case, a moderate RES would be an important step towards a cleaner energy future, but without the job-killing provisions that come with cap and tax.”
There are some interesting things to note in this statement. While it’s true that RES may not be as lethal a costly job-killer as the cap and trade provisions included in last year’s proposed energy overhaul, RES is still quite costly and inefficient. Looking across the nation, states with renewable standards in place are those that pay the highest rates for electricity. I cannot see how it is “a balanced, pragmatic strategy” to introduce a bill that would require citizens and businesses to endure major cost increases in their electricity rates during this economic climate. Further, renewable portfolio standards have yet to be proven a success in any of the states that have adopted them. The movement towards RES this year seems to be all political with little support by the American people.