Bush Administration Renewable Energy Stance Conflicts with Texas

New research from UCS finds that the Senate's renewable electricity standard could save consumers nearly $3 billion through 2020.

Published: 18-Jul-2002

WASHINGTON, July 17 -- The Bush administration and big electric utilities have announced their opposition to a Senate energy bill provision that would increase wind, solar and other renewable energy produced by major electric companies to 10 percent by 2020. This opposition to one of the lone bright spots in the energy bill comes despite findings from the administration's Energy Information Administration (EIA) and new data from the Union of Concerned Scientists that show that the provision could be a boon for consumers and the economy.

"Bush's opposition to the renewable electricity standard makes no sense given that its own study shows that the renewable electricity standard would actually save consumers billions of dollars," said Alan Nogee, UCS Clean Energy Program Director. "The administration is catering to big utilities that want to continue dishing out the same old mix of dirty fossil fuels. The summer air conditioning and smog season is a stark reminder of the need to develop clean energy sources."

The Senate energy bill includes a renewable electricity standard that requires major electric companies to increase sales of electricity from wind, solar and other renewable sources from 2 percent today to about 10 percent by 2020. This would result in a quadrupling, by 2020, of the amount of clean, renewable energy produced. The 74,000 megawatts of renewable energy that would be online by 2020 would be enough to power about 53 million homes. Twelve states, including Texas, have enacted their own renewable electricity standards.

"Because of the Texas renewable electricity standard that President Bush signed when he was Governor of Texas, the amount of wind turbines built in Texas last year was more than those built in the entire U.S. in any year," Nogee said. "It's a shame that Bush won't support the clean air, consumer savings and energy security benefits that renewable energy could provide on the national level."

New research from UCS finds that the Senate's renewable electricity standard could save consumers nearly $3 billion through 2020. Recent analysis by the Bush EIA shows that a more comprehensive 10 percent renewable electricity standard than the one included in the Senate energy bill would save consumers over $13 billion through 2020 on reduced energy bills. Despite this evidence, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham recently sent a letter to Congress stating that the administration opposes the federal renewable electricity standard. In addition to opposing the consumer-friendly renewable energy standard, utilities and Washington are colluding to propose weakening other consumer protections in the electricity market.

Energy technologies like wind, solar and bioenergy can also help reduce the emissions of heat-trapping gases that are causing global warming, as well as reducing smog-forming pollution that fossil-fuel burning power plants emit. These clean electricity sources are available throughout United States. For example, Illinois has the technical potential to generate all of its current electricity needs from renewable power alone.

For more information on the federal renewable electricity standard see www.ucsusa.org

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