Sen. Franken Support the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012
Today, Sen. Franken joined his colleagues at a press conference to support the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012. The act, introduced by Sen. Bingaman (D-N. Mex.), would modernize our nation’s power sector and guide it toward a future in which more and more electricity is generated with cleaner and cleaner energy.
The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 employs a straightforward, market-based approach that encourages a wide variety of electricity-generating technologies. It sets a national goal for clean energy and establishes a transparent framework that lets resources compete based on how clean they are, then gets out of the way and lets the market and American ingenuity determine the best paths forward.
Under the plan, all generators of clean energy are given credits based upon their carbon emissions; greater numbers of credits are given to generators with lower emissions per unit of electricity. This flexible framework naturally allows a wide variety of sources (solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas, coal with carbon capture and storage, etc.) to be used to meet the standard, allows market forces to determine what the optimal mix of technologies and fuels should be, and makes it easy for new technologies to be incorporated.
To be considered “clean,” a generator must either be a zero-carbon source of energy, like renewables and nuclear power, or have a lower carbon intensity than a modern, efficient coal plant. (Carbon intensity means the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per megawatt-hour of electricity generated.) Accounting for “clean” this way means that the cleanest resources have the greatest incentive, and also that every generator has a continuing incentive to become even more efficient.
The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 does not cost the government anything, and it doesn’t raise money for the government, either. If any money does happen to come into the Treasury as a result of the program, it goes straight back to the particular state from which it came, to fund energy efficiency programs.