Markey’s First Senate Bill Aims To Ramp Up Renewable Energy Production

By Shujie Leng

WASHINGTON—Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., Thursday introduced his first bill since moving to the Senate, with the measure aimed ramping up the production of renewable energy nationwide.

Markey’s bill, the American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act, would require that, by 2025, electric utilities obtain a minimum of 25 percent of what they distribute from renewable – so-called clean energy — sources such as wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal and biomass. The starting requirement would be 6 percent from such sources in 2015.

The legislation also would require that electric and natural gas utilities implement energy efficiency programs that would save the equivalent of 15 percent and 10percent of sales, respectively, by 2025.

In a statement, Markey contended that his bill would not only quadruple renewable electricity production by 2025, but create more than 400,000 jobs while generating more than $200 billion in investment in renewable energy technologies. According to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Bay State has gained 20,000 jobs in clean energy sectors since 2010, with another 10,000 new jobs expected in 2014.

Mr. Markey said his bill is modeled on 30 states and the District of Columbia which have already required utilities to provide customers with minimal amounts of renewable electricity, and that the legislation will enable the United States to join 118 other nations that have established renewable energy goals.

The latest available statistics from the U.S. Department of Energy, released last June, indicate that renewable energy accounted for about 10 percent of all U.S. energy consumption and about 12 percent of U.S. energy production in the first half of this year.

Among sources of renewable energy in this country, about 46 percent was from biomass or biofuel sources – involving use of recently living organisms — with 30 percent from hydroelectric, and 19 percent from wind. The balance, accounting for barely 5 percent, comes from either solar or geothermal sources.

Mr. Markey noted that a renewable electricity standard has passed the House twice — including as recently as 2009, when he was a House member — and has passed the Senate three times since 2002.

“There is real bipartisan support for energy efficiency here in the senate. These are politics that should be embraced and not blocked. And if we don’t take these steps, we will lose the international race to dominate the multitrillion dollar clean energy sectors,” he declared.

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