No Cap and Trade – but clean energy bills abound

22 Oct 2010

Fermi 2 Plant, Courtesy of the NRC

As I blogged previously (New GHG Legislation), Congress has been busy spinning out bills to address climate change and clean energy development.  Most of these bills haven’t gone anywhere.  The latest entry in this national derby is the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2010 (S 20) introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.).  As you will recall, Senator Graham had been working with Senators Kerry and Lieberman on an earlier comprehensive cap and trade bill but withdrew his support just as SB 1733 was being introduced.

This bill is more narrowly focused than the Kerry-Lieberman bill, focusing on a “clean energy standard” similar to Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.  Michigan’s RPS obligates Michigan’s utilities to provide 10% of the energy they generate from renewable sources by 2015.  The Graham bill includes incentives for the use of nuclear power as well as renewable energy sources and sets a target of 20% by 2020 and increases 5% every 5 years.  The bill likely will draw co-sponsors from many of the other bills that have been introduced in the last year which do not include nuclear incentives.

The Obama administration still holds out hope for comprehensive climate change legislation, but it seems more likely that a smaller, focused bill might reach the President’s desk this term.

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