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This morning, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) announced that he is introducing the American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act, which would require retail electric suppliers to obtain a minimum of 25% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and require electric and natural gas utilities to establish energy efficiency programs that would reduce power use by 15% and 10%, respectively, by 2025.

According to a press release from Senator Markey's office, the American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act would:

* Create more than 400,000 jobs.

* Lead to energy efficiency improvements that will save the average American household $39 annually. Cumulative consumer savings through 2030 would be nearly $90 billion.

* Spur more than $200 billion in new capital investments in renewable energy technology, leading to nearly a quadrupling of renewable electricity production by 2025.

* Reduce CO2 emissions by 480 million metric tons annually by 2025, the equivalent output of 120 coal-fired power plants.

Head below the 100% post-consumer recycled squiggle for more information.

The American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act seeks to amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to encourage a notable shift to renewable energy. The production requirement would start at 6% by 2015 and progress to 25% by 2025. The power use cuts for electric utilities would go from at 1% in 2015 to 15% in 2025, and for natural gas, .5% in 2015 to 10% in 2025.

The act is supported by major environmental groups, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, and Sierra Club, as well as industry trade and lobbying groups, such as the American Wind Energy Association, National Hydropower Association, and the Solar Energy Industry Association.

Markey introduced a similar bill last year, H.R. 5967, when he was in the House, but it died in the Energy and Commerce committee.

Given the hefty influence of fossil fuel money in Congress, I'm not even sure this would make it out of committee, but I applaud Senator Markey for continuing his legacy as a champion of renewable energy and sensible solutions to environmental problems. If we want to slow the alarming rate of climate disruption, we need to start taking significant steps to move away from greenhouse gas-emitting fuel sources.

Full text of the 68-page bill can be found here, and a less daunting summary here.

ETA: Clearly I have an awful memory, because it completely slipped my mind that the Udall cousins introduced a very similar bill two days ago. There are a few differences between the two, but I'm interested to see why Sen. Markey chose to introduce this bill separately instead of working with Sens. Udall (D-NM) and Udall (D-CO).

Originally posted to Stephen N on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by Massachusetts Kosmopolitans and Climate Hawks.

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