Graham Pushes for Federal “Clean” Electricity Standard

A draft bill being circulated by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seeks to create a federal clean electricity standard that could require utilities to supply 13% of electricity from “clean” sources by 2012, reach 25% in 2025, and 50% in 2050.

The bill (PDF), described simply as “to promote the production of clean energy, and for other purposes,” proposes that the government would distribute credits for clean energy generation and energy efficiency improvements. Its definition of “clean energy” includes, as well as renewable energy, nuclear power and advanced coal generation—or coal power that captures and stores at least 65% of produced greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Sen. Graham is also working with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on another, separate bill. Neither Kerry nor Lieberman have agreed to support Graham’s draft bill, it has been widely reported.

Under Graham’s bill, utilities would be required to hold earned or purchased credits equal to an increasing percentage, and they could use the energy efficiency credits to meet a limited 25% of their compliance obligation.

The bill also calls for loan guarantees to build an additional 60 nuclear plants.

The proposed legislation echoes a bill passed last year by the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which would require utilities to provide 15% of their power from renewables by 2021. That bill had proposed, however, that about 20% of the requirement could be met with energy efficiency programs.

Sources: Sen. Lindsey Graham, POWERnews

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