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After getting their hopes dashed on cap and trade legislation, many legislators are still determined to impose an energy tax on Americans.

Senator Bingaman (D-NM), along with 32 cosponsors, has introduced legislation that would create a 15-percent renewable energy standard. The RES comprises two distinct requirements.

First, electric utilities would be mandated to generate at least 11 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. Secondly, four percent of this 15-percent requirement could be met by electric utilities achieving savings from energy efficiency measures.

All of these extra costs incurred by utilities would be passed on to customers in the form of higher electricity prices. These costs would be buried in electricity bills and therefore would be a hidden energy tax on customers.

Imagine if you ran a business making widgets, but nobody wanted to purchase them. The federal government then decides to provide special treatment to your business by giving you subsidies that far exceed any subsidies received by your competition.

That’s what is being done with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas receives 25 cents per megawatt-hour in federal subsidies. Solar power receives 97 times that amount at $24.34 per megawatt-hour. Wind power receives 93 times that amount at $23.37 per megawatt-hour.

Now imagine that all of this special treatment still isn’t enough for your business to succeed, so there’s only one thing that can be done — the federal government must force the public to buy your widgets.

A renewable energy standard is a mandate that would force the public to buy energy from high-cost and unreliable sources because the public (through utility companies) won’t buy energy from those sources otherwise. It would be by far largest subsidy that could be provided to renewable energy.