December 22, 2014

Graham introduces “clean energy standard” in new bill

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in back in the battle over energy policy. A few months ago, he backed out of a bipartisan effort to come up with a climate and energy bill after the effort took a back seat to immigration debate.

Senator Graham now offers what he calls his Clean Energy Standard (CES) as an alternative to a bill introduced last month by Senators Sam Brownback, Republican from Kansas and Jeff Bingaman, a New Mexico Democrat. He says their plan short-changes nuclear power as a safe, reliable, clean energy source. There are provisions in his legislation that will provide incentives for the retirement of old coal units without mandates.

Graham’s bill would require utilities to obtain 13 percent of their energy from clean sources by 2013, increasing to 20 percent by 2020 and continuing to increase by 5 percent every five years through the year 2050.

Graham calls his bill S.20 an “all of the above” approach. Eligible clean energy sources in the Graham plan include: incremental and new nuclear, energy efficiency (up to 25 percent of total obligation), geothermal, biomass, landfill gas, qualified hydropower, incremental geothermal, coal-mine methane, qualified waste-to-energy, advanced coal (capture and storage of at minimum 65 percent of CO2 emissions), wind, solar, ocean energy and eligible retired fossil fuel generation.

Small electricity producers, such as co-ops, are exempted from the legislation.

In a statement, Graham said,” It is essential that nuclear power be fully embraced in any clean energy standard. It is long overdue for our country to experience a renaissance in nuclear energy. It will lead to the creation of millions of new jobs here in the United States and help make our nation more energy independent. “