WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., is co-sponsoring legislation with his cousin that would increase the use of renewable energy gradually through 2025.
The Renewable Energy Standard bill, introduced Tuesday by Mark and Tom Udall, D-N.M., would require utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025.
These would include wind and solar energy as well as other developments of technology in the renewable energy field.
Colorado has a renewable energy standard – championed by Mark Udall in 2004 – in place that requires investor-owned utilities be 30 percent based in renewable energy by the year 2020 and municipal utilities serving more than 40,000 customers to be 10 percent renewable-based by 2020, according to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.
The new federal bill is intended to implement a national standard, as well as even out the standards currently in place in Colorado.
In addition to the reduction of carbon emissions, Udall believes the bill will help create jobs nationally and in Colorado.
“Clean energy creates jobs, spurs innovation, reduces global warming and makes us more energy independent,” Udall said in a news release. “This commonsense proposal would extend Colorado’s successful effort to expand the use of renewable energy alongside natural gas and coal to the entire nation.”
The bill would create an additional 274,000 to 297,000 jobs in the United States in such areas as construction, operations and engineering, according to Udall’s press team.
In 2012, more than 119,000 people worked in solar-related industries nationwide with an additional 75,000 working in the development of wind-powered energy.
The switch in energy technology also would save consumers $64.3 billion by 2025 and $95.5 billion by 2030 in the cost of their utility bills, according to Udall.
Colorado utility companies, including Xcel, say the bill will save private citizens up to $100 million in a 25-year period.
Farmers are expected to see an additional increase as well, through lease payments the bill would create.
Udall estimates farmers across the country will receive a total of $13.5 million as a result.
This story was changed to correct an error in its original publication. Mark and Tom Udall are cousins.
Suzanne Gaber is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.