New bill proposes US utilties purchase 25% of energy from renewables

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US Senator for Colorado, Mark Udall and his cousin, Tom Udall, senator for New Mexico have teamed up to introduce legislation that would set renewable energy targets for utilities. 

The legislation introduces the first national threshold, for utilities to purchase 25% of their energy from renewable resources by 2025.

The senators have said the bill would create jobs and spur innovation in the country’s solar industry, reduce global warming, encourage utilities to partner with communities and increase US energy independence.

Tom and Mark Udall first introduced the national 25% Renewable Energy Standard legislation after Obama came to power in 2008, and again in April 2011 with a 6% target requirement by 2013. The legislation is also similar to a previous state level bill, the Colorado Renewable Energy Standard, Mark Udall passed in 2004.

Mark Udall said: “This common-sense proposal would extend Colorado's successful effort to expand the use of renewables.”

“Our bill is the best way to help America take the lead and build a thriving clean energy economy,” said Tom Udall, adding that the new bill “will get America running on home grown clean energy, create almost 300,000 new jobs and help revitalise our rural communities – all while fighting global warming.”

Christopher Mansour, vice president of federal affairs of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) welcomed the legislation.

“Removing market barriers and providing a competitive structure that allows the nation to recognize solar energy's full potential is a top priority for America's solar industry. We've already seen what well-structured renewable energy standards have meant in states. They've opened electricity markets to allow for more competition from renewable sources of energy and ultimately driven down the cost of electricity for consumers,” he said.

Mansour praised the senators for pushing for a national renewables strategy: “A national standard that successfully deploys solar energy would diversify our energy portfolio, reduce costs for consumers, and create jobs.”

Many States have set their own Renewable Portfolio Standards with Colorado, Hawai'i and New York among the most ambitious (30% by 2020, 40% by 2030 and 30% by 2015 respectively).

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