Eileen Claussen Comments on Sen. Bingaman's Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012

Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

March 1, 2012

From Texas to Ohio to California, 31 states have shown that a clean energy standard for electricity benefits both the economy and the environment. It can diversify our energy supplies, build homegrown industries, sharpen our competitive edge in the global clean tech market, and curb pollution that damages health and contributes to climate change.  Sen. Bingaman’s Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 presents an opportunity to achieve these benefits nationwide. The bill builds on these state-level successes, President Obama’s call for a federal clean energy standard, and earlier proposals from both sides of the aisle.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has closely studied the issues and options in designing a federal clean energy standard. Congress faces some difficult questions: Do we focus on renewable energy only, or do we try to advance nuclear power and lower-carbon uses of fossils fuels as well? Do we set a performance goal and let the market decide how best to achieve it, or do we specify particular technologies in order to guarantee diversity of energy sources? How do we reward state leadership while putting all regions of the country on an equal footing?

There are important balances that must be struck, questions that must be resolved, and we shouldn't pretend that resolving them will be easy. But we must try. Maintaining a diverse energy supply, getting the United States into the international race for clean energy, curbing pollution -- these are challenges we must meet, and ignoring them won't make them go away.

Striking the right balance will require real effort by all sides, and Sen. Bingaman’s bill is an excellent place to start. We hope it launches a vital and constructive national conversation about how best to ensure reliable and affordable electricity for our country while tackling climate change. C2ES applauds Sen. Bingaman and the bill’s cosponsors, and looks forward to working with them, their colleagues and other stakeholders to move this forward.

For more information, view our Clean Energy Standards Resource page.

Contact: Rebecca Matulka, 703-516-4146, matulkar@c2es.org