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Wind Industry, Governors Coalition Call for Renewable Energy Standard

The wind industry’s main trade group is pushing for legislation that will create a national renewable-electricity standard (RES) in the waning weeks of the 111th Congress, E2 Wire reports.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) will begin airing 30-second TV spots in Washington, D.C., cable markets today touting proposals that would require many utilities to supply increasing amounts of power from renewable sources in coming years.

“America needs clean energy and America needs jobs. Wind power can deliver on both but only if the Senate encourages investment by passing a strong RES,” the ads state. The ads will run for a week, and the campaign also features online spots, according to AWEA, which has timed the ads to greet the return of senators from the summer recess.

“It is all to support and push home the call for an RES now that everyone is back in town,” AWEA spokeswoman Sarah Howell told E2 Wire.

The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition is circulating a letter to senators, while other groups are planning press conferences and other actions later this week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in July he’s doubtful an RES can attract 60 votes, but he has more recently opened the door to trying to revive the measure in a lame-duck energy bill.

The House passed an RES last year as part of a sweeping climate change and energy bill, but the broader climate package is dead for the year. While the Senate seems unlikely to approve an energy bill during the few weeks it reconvenes before the November elections, it may consider measures on U.S. EPA climate rules, power plant pollution curbs and energy tax incentives according to the New York Times.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week acknowledged that the Senate’s chances of passing sweeping or even scaled-back climate legislation this year are dead, but he held out hopes for moving forward on a slimmed-down energy package. But amid election-year politics and an already-crowded legislative calendar, consideration may be carried over to a lame-duck session.

Reid last week said small business legislation will top the chamber’s agenda this month. And aides say such a move will leave little time for consideration of an energy bill before November.

“We are only in for a few weeks when we reconvene next week, and while we are still mapping out the schedule, energy legislation … may have to wait for a lame-duck session,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley told the New York Times last week.

Still, Reid suggested last week that a narrow energy bill could see floor action before the election. “I think we should take a run at it,” he said during a clean energy conference in Las Vegas. “Even Washington is ready for that, so I’m going to try.”

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