Murkowski raises concerns about RPS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today expressed strong reservations regarding a proposed national Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that would require utilities to generate as much as 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2021. 
“A one-size-fits-all national standard raises serious concerns about regional disparities,” Murkowski said. “While some parts of our country have abundant renewable resources, others – particularly the Southeast – lack the renewable resources, other than biomass, needed to reach a 20 percent requirement.”
Sen. Murkowski, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been working closely with Chairman Jeff Bingaman to draft a comprehensive energy bill that could be introduced late this spring.
While Sen. Murkowski remains a strong proponent of investing in clean energy, she believes nuclear energy and meaningful hydropower must be included with other non-carbon emitting energy to make a national portfolio standard achievable.
“I don’t necessarily object to an RPS, but I want it to be a truly bipartisan provision that takes into account regional differences,” Murkowski said. “It must contain provisions that allow the southern states to participate without being penalized because they lack the same abundance of renewable energy as other parts of the country.”
Sen. Murkowski supports funding for renewable and alternative energy, and is an ardent supporter of increasing their use to meet the nation’s energy demands. However, she insists that the actual cost to families and the economy be kept in mind when writing energy legislation.
“Energy is regional, not partisan,” Murkowski said. “Any renewables mandate must take into account regional differences and the fact that the country is not equally divided when it comes to renewable energy.”
Sen. Murkowski has asked Sen. Bingaman to hold a second hearing on RPS in the next few weeks in order to hear from Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and possibly FERC, on how such a mandate would be implemented.
Sen. Murkowski said the committee still has a number of questions about a national RPS, including what to do with existing state programs and the lack of adequate transmission infrastructure.