The Little RES That Could


A bill to enact a federal mandate for renewable electricity is gathering steam in the Senate. And unlike many issues in Washington these days, the measure is gaining support on both sides of the aisle. On Thursday, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) became the latest Republican to back a renewable electricity standard (RES).

Grassley joins John Ensign (Nev.), Susan Collins (Maine), and Sam Brownback (Kan.) among Republican co-sponsors of the bill. Twenty-one Democrats have also signed on.

The bill would require utilities to draw 3 percent of electricity from renewable sources starting in 2012. By 2021, that requirement scales up to 15 percent. While this RES is lower than the House-passed measure and than the goal renewables energy advocates had hoped for, it is likely the most attainable energy measure this year. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), the lead sponsor of the bill, said he planned to gather 60 votes for the measure before encouraging Majority Leader Harry Reid to hold a vote, most likely in a lame-duck session post-election. So far he’s 25 votes closer to that goal.

While Reid is supportive of an RES, his office offered a more realistic take on its chances of the measure getting on the ever-growing to-do list. A leadership aide sent along this statement:

Senator Reid strongly supports a national renewable electricity standard. But, there is very limited time before the October recess and probably even during the lame duck, so the proponents of a stand-alone RES will need to demonstrate they have 60 votes for swift floor action before floor consideration could be scheduled.

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate