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Readying to Hit the Ground Running After Recess, Reid Says RES Alive September 5, 2010

Posted by Laura Arnold in Renewable Electricity Standard (RES).
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Energy legislation that would include a renewable electricity standard (RES) “absolutely” remains a possibility for this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), said this week.

The statements, coming as the Senator turned his attention to his annual energy conference in his home state of Nevada next week, were welcomed by the wind energy industry and its advocates, which prior to the August recess reached a far different conclusion from Reid about the ability of an RES to pass. Reid contended that an RES does not have the necessary 60 votes to avoid a filibuster, but wind energy advocates insisted that it does.

However, any gap between vote tallies appears to be narrowing. In his comments to reporters this week, Reid said two Republicans have expressed interest in an RES. While Reid did not name those Senators, Sam Brownback (Kan.) is one Republican who has publicly endorsed a 15% RES in recent weeks.

In a statement in early August, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Denise Bode said, “There is tremendous bipartisan support for the renewable electricity standard, and we’re encouraged that Senate leadership is open to revisiting the bill in September. In recent days several Senators, including Republicans, made strong arguments for new policy to bring stability and continued growth to the American wind energy industry. That should come as no surprise. The RES has the greatest job-creation and job-protection potential of any energy policy Congress can consider this year. We are advancing our discussions with RES supporters in both parties to keep our industry competitive and to build a thriving clean energy manufacturing industry.”

This week, AWEA issued the following statement from Bode in response to Reid voicing confidence on the Senate energy bill:

“Today’s statement by Senator Reid that he sees more bipartisan support for a renewable electricity standard is a sure sign energy legislation is still very much in play. A recent Op-Ed by Senator Mark Udall and letter signed by labor, leading utilities, renewable energy trade associations, and most of the environmental community shows momentum is building throughout the nation. There is every reason the Senate can pass energy legislation with an RES.”

Congress returns to Washington, D.C., on September 13, but its working days are fewer this fall because of the election year.

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