Senate Energy & Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has introduced the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012, which would require electric utilities to derive increasing percentages of their supply mix from low-CO2 sources. The bill would take effect in 2015, and would require that by 2035 84% of power from large utilities come from low-CO2 sources.

Sources eligible under the legislation include: renewables, such as wind and solar, “qualified” renewable biomass and waste-to-energy, hydropower, natural gas, and nuclear. Facilities with CO2 capture and storage, and some combined heat and power facilities, are also eligible. The bill establishes a market-based credit trading scheme, within which utilities could purchase compliance credits from other utilities.

In the Energy & Natural Resources Committee’s press release, Senator Bingaman offered the following: “[As] we continues [sic] to grow and power our economy, we leverage the clean resources we have available today, and also provide a continuing incentive to develop the cheaper, cleaner technologies that we’ll need in the future.  We want to make sure that we drive continued diversity in our energy sources, and allow every region to deploy clean energy using its own resources.  And we want to make sure that we do all of this in a way that supports home-grown innovation and manufacturing and keeps us competitive in the global clean energy economy.”

The Act was introduced with no Republican support. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the top Republican on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee has said that she will “only get behind such a standard if it replaces federal climate regulations.” [The Hill]

What do you think of the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012? What about it might you change? Is there any potential for it to replace other federal climate regulations, as Senator Murkowski suggests?