United States

United States

Wind wire: Strong RES

A national renewable energy standard (RES) in the US is going to have to be significantly stronger than proposals currently on the table if it is to drive near term growth in the sector, says GE Energy CEO John Krenicki, testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last month.

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He says both the RES passed by the House of Representatives and the law approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee "are far too weak to keep the US wind industry from collapsing in the next three years." The House bill contains a 20% renewable electricity by 2020 standard, allowing for 8% to be met through energy efficiency improvements.

It has an interim target of 6% in 2012. The Senate bill, expected to be considered by the full Senate this autumn, contains a 15% by 2020 standard, allowing for 4% to be met through energy efficiency improvements. The step along the way is a target of just 3% by 2013. The early-stage targets in both, says Krenicki, are "essentially equal to or below" the status quo. "It would take a 12% renewable electricity standard by 2012, with reasonable percentages to be satisfied by energy efficiency measures, to enable US wind deployments to continue on the current growth trajectory," he says.

"The fact that longer term targets for 2020 and beyond would increase wind and other renewables is immaterial, because the current weak near-term targets would drive the US wind technology and manufacturing expertise overseas to the countries that have thriving commercial activity over the next three to five years. Without a significantly higher RES target for 2012, the federal government will be offering long-term support to an industry with no long-term future."



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