The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) joined over 220 other companies and organizations in signing a letter to Congress endorsing a national renewable electricity standard (RES). A national RES will provide the long-term policy commitment needed to require businesses to invest in clean, renewable energy. Legislation introduced in to the House and Senate would require utilities in every state to generate at least 25% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

Implementing such a standard could ease many of the nation’s current problems by putting Americans back to work, building up the economy, lowering the cost of living, and reducing negative environmental impacts.

The proposed RES would add nearly 300,000 jobs to the economy according to a new study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The jobs, created in fields as diverse as management, manufacturing and construction, would add to the 85,000 jobs the wind industry already supports. Additionally, the 25%-by-2025 scenario would prompt roughly $263 billion of capital investment in the economy and provide an estimated $13.5 billion of income to landowners.

The American consumer would in turn see economic savings. A 25% RES would lower annual natural gas prices by about 4.1%, and average electricity prices would be reduced by as much as 7.6%. These reductions would be achieved by diversifying the energy supply, producing more energy from domestic sources, protecting consumers against price spikes, and reducing demand for foreign natural gas.

Besides the economic benefits, an RES is also a strong step in tackling emissions that cause global climate change. A national RES would help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, decreasing environmental degradation from the extraction, transportation, and burning of fossil fuels.

The study conducted by UCS highlights countless benefits of an RES and comes at a crucial time in the national debate over such legislation. The letter, along with the momentum it has gained, urges Congress to adopt a national RES this year. House and Senate committees plan to consider energy legislation, including a national RES, later this spring.