Congress is now considering several proposals that would require electric utilities to increase their use of renewable energy, such as solar, wind and biomass. My organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists, re-cently analyzed a specific renewable electricity standard requiring utilities to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. This standard is similar to a renewable electricity standard that President Obama supports.
Such a standard would benefit both the nation in general and Indiana specifically.
A greater reliance on renewable energy, for example, would diversify our energy mix and lower the demand for and the price of natural gas. Indiana ratepayers, in particular, would save $2.12 billion by 2025. Consumers nationwide would collectively save $64.3 billion.
A 25-percent-by-2025 standard also would create nearly 300,000 new domestic jobs and generate $13.5 billion in new income for farmers, ranchers and rural landowners who sell crop, animal and logging wastes or lease land for wind turbines.
Indiana's senators, Evan Bayh (D) and Richard Lugar (R), have not yet come out in favor of the 25-percent-by-2025 standard. Sen. Bayh's vote is particularly important because he sits on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which will soon vote on a similar bill. His vote may determine whether the bill lives or dies. Indiana residents who want to promote local jobs and protect their pocketbooks and the environment at the same time should urge Sen. Bayh to support the strongest possible national renewable electricity standard.
Jeff Deyette and Emily Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists
May 06, 2009