Klobuchar bill previews Senate action on energy legislation By Chris Madison

The Senate legislative end game for energy has begun: Yesterday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, along with Sen. Tim Johnson, D-SD, introduced a bill that would provide significant incentives for renewable energy, including wind power and biofuels.

Titled the Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies Act (SAFEST), the legislation would establish a renewable electricity standard (RES) of 25% by 2025, extend the eligibility period of existing tax credits for new projects for two years, create a new tax credit to offset the cost of integrating wind and solar energy into the existing transmission systems.

“The strength of our nation is tied to the strength of our energy economy,” Klobuchar said. “Not only are we still dependent on foreign oil, other countries are making great strides in developing clean energy technologies. With the ingenuity of American farmers and manufacturers, we have the ability to be the global leader in energy. This bill will provide incentives that can boost our economy and help us secure our energy future.”

American Wind Energy Association supports the legislation, which may be combined with legislation expected to be introduced later this week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode said, "The provisions of this bill are essential to getting America on the road to a clean energy future and to creating American jobs. We applaud Sen. Klobuchar for her leadership and diligence."

Proponents hope that the Senate can pass a bill before the August recess, and that it can be reconciled with House-passed legislation in September.

“There is strong momentum now to bring an energy bill to the floor as early as next Monday. I’m very hopeful Sen. Reid and President Obama and leadership of the Senate will seize the moment,” said former Senate Leader Tom Daschle, who is serving as an adviser to AWEA for the legislation effort. He made the comment in an interview with Politico.

More than a dozen wind industry executives are in Washington this week to meet with Senators and urge support for energy legislation that includes a strong RES.

By Chris Madison, www.awea.org/blog/