NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 12, 2007

The federal Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) -- a one-size-fits-all mandate -- would punish those living in states without sufficient natural resources, and likely fail to bring more renewable electricity on line, says Sen. Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico and the senior Republican on the energy committee.

According to Domenici:

  • Most of the 15 percent RES mandate must come from wind energy, because it is the only eligible technology able to generate that much energy.
  • Unfortunately, many states simply lack the amount of wind necessary to meet the standard, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has found that Southern states have almost no ability to produce wind energy.

Another complication is simply the difficulty of bringing more renewables on line, which makes trading credits unworkable, says Domenici.  The proposal fails to account for the challenges and prolonged legal battles that emerge when new projects such as wind farms and their transmission lines are proposed.  Without that new capacity, there is no hope of meeting a RES.

There is a better way to accomplish the goal of more renewable electricity, and, as in many areas, the states are leading the way.  Twenty-six states have already enacted their own renewable energy provisions, says Domenici.  States are better able to tailor these requirements to fit their individual needs and resources than the federal government.

Source: Pete V. Domenici, "Opposing view: Let the states decide," USA Today, December 12, 2007.


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