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The US Senate rejected a proposal that would require electric utilities to get at least 15 percent of power from renewable resources, such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, by 2020. If passed, the proposal would have lowered greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 7 percent, according to a federal study.
“We are trying to stimulate production of electricity from these sources,” said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.
However, the Senate rejected the proposal with a 56–39 vote, largely claiming most utilities would not be able to meet that mark. Many senators from the southern states claimed their states lacked the wind and reliable sun exposure the western states have.
“I’m not impressed with wind being the national energy source for America,” said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., who led the opposition.
However, the proposal would allow for those states to buy credits from other states who have exceeded the 15 percent minimum. It would also allow states to meet the requirement by building more nuclear power plants and taking new conservation measures.
Opponents of the proposal found none of these concessions sufficient, and they argued that despite the large amount of research the proposal’s supporters had of the national economic effects, they lacked local economic effects.
Only about 2.4 percent of the United States’ electricity currently comes from such sources. The proposal is being reworked and is planned to be reintroduced to the Senate for voting. EC