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Published: Monday 21 October, 2013

designer online stores designer online stores ?Obama wants a energy standard

In his State of the Union address, President Obama noted that a climate bill can pass Congress: dif designer online stores ferences in this chamber may be too deep right now. But he did ask lawmakers for clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. Is that a close substitute? And could it pass?

Alex Gallardo Reuters

Various proposals for a clean energy standard PDF have been knocking around the Senate for years. Early versions required electric utilities to get a certain portion of their power solely from renewable sources like wind or solar something that 24 sta designer online stores tes currently do. More recent versions have expanded the list of options to things like nuclear power or natural gas. But a large standard could do a lot to reshape the nation electricity supply. For instance, the Energy Information Administration recently modeled a proposal by Sen. Jeff Bingaman DNM that would require utilities to get 80 percent of their power from lowcarbon or zerocarbon sources by 2035. The EIA found that greenhousegas emissions from the power sector would drop 43 percent by designer online stores 2035 with a very small effect on economic growth the hit to GDP would be about 0.02 points per year.

Now, Bingaman proposal wasn just focused on renewable sources like wind or solar. It would also allowed utilities to build new nuclear plants or replace coal with natural gas. Since natural gas emits about half of the carbon dioxide that coal does, utilities would get half as much credit for using it as they would for deploying, say, carbonfree geothermal power. Coal power plants could even get partial credit for burning biomass along with their coal, which is a fairly straightforward and cheap way to reduce carbon emissions.

As the EIA chart below projects, the standard would lead to a sharp reduction in coal use across the United States by 2035, compared with a business as usual case. It would also lead to a big uptick in natural gas, hydropower and renewable energy, and a small reduction in nuclear power. Since the standard only gives power companies credit for new nuclear plants, rather than current ones, utilities would be expected to retire some of their aging plants rather than work to extend their lifespans.

Whether this actually works, however, depends on the gritty details. Back in 2010, for instance, the Union of Concerned Scientists warned that a weak and loopholeridden renewable standard then under Senate consideration which would asked for 15 percent of all power to come from renewables by 2021 could potentially have done less than the patchwork of state cleanenergy mandates that were already in place would have done.

Still, designed right, a standard could have a big impact, and bring the United States closer to its stated goals on climate change. But does it have any chance? According to The Hill Ben Geman, Bingaman is planning to unveil a new clean energy standard in the weeks ahead. In the past, a few Republicans like Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski have expressed interest especially if the standard allows for things like nuclear power and carbon capture from coal plants, though odds are this wouldn fare well in the House it is a big, fat mandate, after all.

Ironically, back in 2009, the clean energy standard was considered a watery halfmeasure when compared against a full climate bill that capped emissions. In retrospect, many greens might have preferred that Congress had passed this sort of policy which would at least put a hefty dent in emissions and help bolster the clean energy industry rather than nothing at all.

Ezra Klein

Ezra Klein is the editor of Wonkblog and a columnist at the Washington Post, as well as a contributor to MSNBC and Bloomberg. His work focuses on domestic and economic policymaking, as well as the political system that constantly screwing it up. He really likes graphs, and is on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. Email him here.

Neil Irwin

Neil Irwin is a Washington Post columnist and the economics editor of Wonkblog. Each weekday morning his Econ Agenda column reports and explains the latest trends in economics, finance, and the policies that shape both. Follow him on Twitter here. Email him here.

Sarah Kliff

Sarah Kliff covers health policy, focusing on Medicare, Medicaid and the health reform law. She tries to fit in some reproductive health and education policy coverage, too, alongside an occasional hockey reference. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, Politico, and the BBC. She is on Twitter and Facebook.

Brad Plumer

Brad Plumer is a reporter focusing on energy and environmental issues. He was previously an associate editor at The New Republic. Follow him on Twitter. Email him here. covers taxes, poverty, campaign finance, higher education, and all things data. He has also written for The New Republic, Salon, Slate, and The American Prospect. Follow him on Twitter here. Email him here. is a reporter focusing on business policy, including lobbying, government contracting, and international trade, with a bit of urban affairs and infrastructure on the side. Email her here and follow her on Twitter here. designer online stores