CORRECTED - US renewable energy bill faces battle in 2010

Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:21pm GMT

(Corrects paragraph 2 to make clear bill requires 15 perecent renewable by 2021, not 2012)

* Similar to bill passed by Senate energy panel last year

* Broader climate bill's failure could hurt chances

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill on Tuesday that would require utilities to generate minimum levels of renewable power which environmentalists welcomed but analysts said had slim chances of passing this year.

Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat and chair of the Senate's energy committee, and Sam Brownback, a Republican, introduced the bill which would create a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring utilities to generate 15 percent renewable power by 2021.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stripped a Renewable Electricity Standard out of the broader oil spill bill in July saying climate measures would not get a single Republican vote. [ID:nN2084474]

But the bill introduced on Tuesday has some support as it is nearly the same bill as one that passed Bingaman's committee last year. Supporters of the bill said two other Republicans, Senators Susan Collins and John Ensign, also support it.

Steel workers, utilities that have strong renewable portfolios, and environmentalists seeking to spur reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have pushed for the bill saying it would create jobs to help the country compete with China in production of wind turbines and solar power panels.   Continued...

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