Power surge: The United States needs a sweeping energy policy

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The Obama administration and Congress need to enact an ambitious, practical energy policy. They can start with a national standard for renewable energy.

Many states have laws that require utilities to invest more in wind, solar and biomass energy and other forms of renewable power. The laws are getting results, but their competing rules and incentives create a tug of war among states for investors.

A federal standard would help level the playing field among states, give investors greater market certainty and create jobs.

Congress also should expand production tax credits for wind and solar projects and make a greater commitment to research and development, which could help universities promote innovation in green energy.

The Obama administration supports more natural gas exploration for electricity production, which is good for the economy of a Marcellus Shale-rich state such as Pennsylvania. Natural gas is cleaner than coal-fired power, but not enough.

The nation needs a stronger commitment to renewable energy. A national standard is the place to start.

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