House Passes Combined Renewable Electricity/Energy Efficiency Standard

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On June 26, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 219-212 to pass the American Clean Energy Security Act (the “House Bill”) [.pdf], which included a national combined renewable electricity/energy efficiency standard (“RES”). Currently, twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have in place some form of renewable energy portfolio standard [.ppt], but the adoption of a federal RES is widely thought to be important for the creation of a national renewable energy and energy efficiency market. The RES passed by the House would not preempt state programs with stricter compliance targets, meaning that the federal program would preserve to some extent the patchwork of state standards. The interaction between state programs and a federal RES may be particularly important where there are significant differences with respect to what generation technologies qualify and whether or how electricity savings may be used to meet compliance goals. Although the final contours of the RES will remain uncertain until it is enacted, the degree of federal preemption will be a key issue for states with aggressive clean energy agendas.

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