National Renewable Electricity Standard Introduced, Dismissed

No sooner was the Renewable Electricity Promotion Act of 2010, sponsored by Sens. Bingaman (D- NM) and Brownback (R- KS), introduced in the Senate last week than it was dismissed as being unlikely to proceed by one of its key sponsors.

The bill would require 15 percent of the electricity supplied by utilities to come from renewable sources, including efficiency, by 2021.  However, Sen. Bingaman recently stated that he doesn’t believe there is time for the bill to be considered this year, given the interest in piling on a bunch of amendments that would broaden its scope and other competing priorities.

With cap-and-trade legislation dead and a renewable electricity standard mired in debate and poor timing, what does this signal for the near-term future of energy legislation?  I believe signs are positive that legislation will pass next year that addresses, to some extent, greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy: President Obama has stated that he is committed to pushing for energy legislation next year, the EPA is set to regulate greenhouse gases (something Congress in none too happy about), and midterm elections will have run their course.  All of this implies the feds will sit down and try to work out something in earnest; though the strength of that legislation will initially be relatively weak.