Current Climate and Federal Renewable Electricity Standard Legislation Could Reduce Impact of Renewable Energy Purchases
Renewable energy leaders concerned that without a set-aside provision, renewable energy purchases would not lower overall greenhouse gas emissions
Washington, D.C. (September 3, 2009) — The Renewable Energy Marketers Association (REMA) today announced their continued concern that the current draft of energy and climate legislation being debated in Congress would have unintended consequences for renewable projects currently supported voluntarily by hundreds of thousands of individuals, organizations, companies and others. Without a provision to retire allowances or reduce the level of the greenhouse-gas cap on behalf of renewable energy purchases by these individuals and businesses, these purchases could result in no carbon-reduction benefit. To counter this prospect, REMA has joined with a number of leading environmental groups and major U.S. employers to ensure that the voluntary markets for renewable energy are maintained as part of any future climate change or energy bill that passes the Congress.
For months REMA and their industry allies have been promoting a series of fixes to the current legislation that would ensure market compatibility with a national renewable energy mandate and cap-and-trade system.
"REMA’s primary objective is to ensure that any cap-and-trade program or energy legislation passed by the federal government maintains the ability of voluntary users of renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions," said REMA Federal Policy Committee Chair, Rob Harmon of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. "To accomplish this objective, voluntary use of renewable energy must result either in retirement of allowances or in lowering of the cap."
The retirement of allowances or the lowering of a cap in climate legislation in response to voluntary use of renewable energy is currently supported by numerous leading environmental organizations such as the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Joining them are corporate leaders such as Washington Gas Energy Services, and SunEdison Corporation.
Currently, hundreds of organizations, households, government agencies, farms, businesses, and houses of worship voluntarily purchase green power—renewable electricity or renewable energy certificates (RECs)— or install on-site renewable electricity generation like solar as part of their commitment to reducing their global warming footprint. This voluntary market has been an important driver of clean energy development across the United States, responsible for millions of dollars in new investment. The voluntary market grew by 62% in 2004, 37% in 2005, 41% in 2006, and 53% in 2007. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in the last decade households and businesses collectively have provided a larger market for new renewable energy developers than all state government renewable programs combined, and these voluntary purchases support more than 4,000 MW of new renewable energy capacity nationally. This market continued its dramatic market growth in 2008 and was one of the few industries in the country that demonstrated growth during the difficult economic times of the past year.
"The importance of allowing individuals, private companies, local government and nonprofits the ability to take pro-active measures to stem the threat and consequences of global climate change is a great partner to compliance markets," said Gabe Petlin, REMA President. "We are at a historic moment, and all reasonable, cost-effective options to reduce GHG emissions should be encouraged."
REMA and its allies are strong supporters of energy and climate legislation drafted in both houses of Congress. They are landmark pieces of legislation that will help curb global climate change. The simple fixes being promoted by renewable energy stakeholders will simply improve already strong legislation.
The Renewable Energy Marketers Association
Bonneville Environmental Foundation
Conservation Services Group
FPL Energy Power Marketing
Green Mountain Energy
Renewable Choice Energy
Washington Gas Energy Services
About the Renewable Energy Marketers Association (REMA)
The Renewable Energy Marketers Association (REMA) represents the collective interests of both for-profit and nonprofit organizations that sell or promote renewable energy products through voluntary markets, including renewable electricity and renewable energy certificates (RECs), to individuals, companies and institutions throughout North America. For more information on REMA, visit www.renewablemarketers.org.
Jonathan Edwards, (413) 303-1001