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Ladywriter

Congress dilutes Obama clean energy goals

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House, Senate bills nowhere near campaign vow of 25 percent by 2025

WASHINGTON - Congress is all but abandoning President Barack Obama's goal of producing by 2025 fully one-quarter of U.S. electricity from renewable sources — wind, solar and the like — although a push for at least some increase is making headway.Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are considering legislation that would establish the first national requirement for electric utilities to generate a certain percentage of their power from renewable energy, from wind turbines and solar cells to biomass and geothermal sources.

To gain wider congressional support, the proposals have been whittled back. They now pale in comparison to what Obama repeatedly has maintained is feasible and necessary to shift the nation from coal and other fossil fuels over to clean energy sources. This shift, he argues, is needed to combat climate change and make the nation more energy independent.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is expected to approve on Thursday energy measures that specify 15 percent of power used in the United States come from renewable sources by 2021. A huge climate bill, likely to be considered by House members in the coming weeks, would require 20 percent renewable energy use by 2020.

Nothing near that amount would be achieved or even required by the mandate because of compromises made to exempt some utilities and allow others to substitute efficiency improvements for a large chunk of the renewable energy requirement.

By contrast, Obama, both in the presidential campaign and since occupying the White House, has demanded a much more aggressive shift to renewable energy. He set a goal of 10 percent renewable energy use by power producers by 2012 and 25 percent by 2025.

The bills before Congress would require a modest 3 to 6 percent renewable energy use by most utilities over the next three years. Currently, total U.S. renewable energy use for power generation is about 3 percent, not counting hydroelectric power.

:calm: boned again


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