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Key-vote alert for Udall amendment #77
Vote s44-2015

Today, the Senate will vote on amendment #77 by Senator Udall to S. 1, which would create a national Renewable Electricity Standard that would require 25% of electricity to come from renewable sources by the year 2025.

This amendment would essentially mandate higher electricity prices for all Americans. These standards are designed to make reliable electricity generation from sources such as nuclear and coal uneconomic. As former NASA climate scientist James Hansen explains:

\"[I] naively thought that the purpose [of renewable portfolio standards] was simply to kick-start renewables. Instead, I was told, because utilities were required to accept intermittent renewable energies, nuclear power would become less economic, because it works best if it runs flat out. What to do when the wind is not blowing? The answer was: have a gas plant ready as back-up. In other words, replace carbon-free nuclear power with a dual system, renewables plus gas.\"

As Hansen explains, renewable mandates such as this national renewable electricity standard are not designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions or kick-start renewables, but to make nuclear power uneconomic. Furthermore, because coal generation is much like nuclear in that coal is most efficient running at a steady state, this language is designed to make coal uneconomic as well.

In the first 10 months of 2014 nuclear and coal combined to produce 58 percent of the electricity generated in the United States, according to numbers EIA released yesterday. The most inexpensive electricity generation we have is our existing hydro, nuclear, and coal plants. Even if low-cost combined cycle natural gas plants replace coal, the levelized cost of the electricity will still be over 60 percent higher than electricity from existing coal plants.

Wind and solar costs are not directly comparable to nuclear and coal because wind and solar are not reliable sources of electricity generation, as EIA explains here. But even if they were directly comparable, wind would be more than 60 percent more expensive and solar would be more than 180 percent more expensive.

This amendment is designed to take at least 58 percent of our current sources of electricity generation off the table and replace it with more expensive electricity. The point of this amendment is to drive up electricity prices.

The American Energy Alliance opposes this amendment and it will be included in our American Energy Scorecard. NO IS THE PRO-AFFORDABLE ENERGY, PRO-NUCLEAR, PRO-FREE MARKET VOTE.

AEA Position: No

Vote result on 2015-01-29

Amendment Rejected

(45 to 53)

  • Voted Yes
  • Voted No
  • Did Not Vote