MURKOWSKI SUPPORTS CLEAN PORTFOLIO STANDARD IN SENATE ENERGY BILL
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today joined Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM), Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) in introducing a Clean Portfolio Standard (CPS) amendment to establish a federal 20 percent Clean Portfolio Standard (CPS).
The CPS amendment is an alternative to a proposal by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M) to establish a more narrow 15 percent federal Renewable Portfolio/Electricity Standard (RPS). The CPS alternative includes renewable technologies like wind and solar energy, but also allows clean energy resources like nuclear, new hydropower, fuel cells, and others to count toward the 20 percent standard.
“One key difference between the two proposals is in how they account for hydropower,” said Senator Murkowski. “Under the Renewable Portfolio Standard new hydropower does not count toward meeting the production mandate. Only incremental power – the addition of turbines to existing facilities – can count. Under the Clean Portfolio Standard new hydro power – not power from dams spanning rivers, but all other forms of new hydro power such as power from small hydro projects and from lake taps – can count. That is an important distinction.”
"This amendment represents a fair and flexible way to promote clean fuel technology," said Senator Stevens. "This approach is particularly important to Alaska because our state relies so heavily on hydropower and geothermal energy. As Congress continues to find methods to increase our nation's use of renewable energy, we must remember to take into account the challenges our rural communities face and ensure our actions do not increase costs for consumers."
In Alaska, about 40% of the power in urban Alaska comes from hydroelectric lake tap projects that have zero environmental impacts since they do not affect stream flows or fish runs. These projects would not count in the RPS being considered by the Senate.
The CPS allows utilities to use solar, wind, geothermal, ocean, biomass, landfill gas, hydropower, nuclear, fuel cells, inherently low emissions technology, and energy efficiency measures to meet the 20 percent mandate. In addition, other clean energy sources certified by the Department of Energy would be eligible.
If a state is still not able to comply with the CPS mandate, the funds collected in penalties would be transferred directly back to the state to be used to promote clean energy production.
The CPS would allow states that already have RPS standards to continue using them by allowing the Governor of each state to certify that there is an existing RPS. This would allow states to continue to tailor their low emissions mandates to meet the resources available in their states.
Audio of Senator Murkowski’s floor remarks are available at http://src.senate.gov/murkowski/radio/