WASHINGTON – Senate legislation introduced today would require all states to adopt energy policies to produce at least half of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2035. That would raise the share of renewable energy for the entire nation to 50 percent or more, up from nearly 20 percent today.
Currently, 30 states have renewables standards that require utilities to generate a set percentage of electricity that ramps up from year to year. The Renewable Electricity Standard Act, by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M), would require the remaining 20 states without renewables standards to get on board. A number of states with enormous solar and wind generation potential, like Florida, Georgia, Nebraska and Wyoming, have so far not adopted renewables policies.
The proposal would more than double the pace of solar and wind development seen over the past decade, according to an analysis of Udall’s legislation by researchers with the Union of Concerned Scientists, or UCS.
Udall’s legislation mirrors the more aggressive renewable standards recently adopted by leading states, such as California and New York. Because the legislation would allow ambitious states to set renewables standards above 50 percent, if it becomes law the U.S. as a whole would likely surpass that level by 2035.
According to the analysis by UCS, Udall’s proposal will not only save electricity consumers roughly $34 billion but will also reduce coal-fired power generation by 97 percent, cut carbon dioxide emissions by 46 percent and CO2 from natural gas by nearly 40 percent.
“More than half of the states have already enacted policies to ramp up renewable energy,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Sen. Udall’s proposal will provide the necessary incentives to bring all 50 states into the fold. This will save consumers billions, slash CO2 emissions and address the climate crisis head-on with a national plan to help solve it.”
“We applaud Sen. Udall for his vision and leadership on expanding renewable energy and working to combat the climate crisis, and we urge all his colleagues to support this legislation,” added Cook.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.