The U.S. House of Representatives has approved H.R.2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), by a vote of 219 to 212. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Edward J. Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
ACES requires that electric utilities meet 20% of their electricity demand with renewable energy sources and energy-efficiency measures by 2020.
Provisions also include investments of $190 billion in new clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, including energy efficiency and renewable energy ($90 billion in new investments by 2025), carbon capture and sequestration ($60 billion), electric and other advanced technology vehicles ($20 billion), and basic scientific research and development ($20 billion).
Additionally, the bill mandates new energy-saving standards for buildings, appliances and industry and requires that carbon emissions from major U.S. sources be reduced by 17% by 2020 and by over 80% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.
Immediate response from leading voices in the solar industry was overwhelmingly positive.
‘This bill will give more Americans the opportunity to install solar on their homes and businesses and spur deployment of utility-scale solar, while creating tens of thousands of high-paying domestic jobs and stable careers,’ Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement. ‘The House-passed bill includes provisions that will significantly brighten solar's future.’
Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO of Applied Materials, also lauded the bill's passage.
‘Like the decision to fund a space program and put a man on the moon in the 1960s, this bill could be heralded as a true inflection point: the moment when the U.S. got serious about clean energy,’ he stated. ‘The U.S. is stating unequivocally to the world that we want to be leaders when it comes to saving our climate.’
‘The American Clean Energy and Security Act will help create jobs, foster more domestic energy production from the wind and the sun, and address the climate threat head-on,’ agreed Lew Hay, chairman and CEO of FPL Group. ‘While no legislation is perfect, this bill is a critical step in the right direction.’
The bill now advances to the Senate.
SOURCES: Office Of Rep. Ed Markey, Solar Energy Industries Association, Applied Materials, FPL Group