WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. should build 100 more nuclear plants rather than spend "billions in subsidies" for renewable energy if it is truly committed to lowering electric bills and having clean air, the Republicans say.
In the party's weekly radio and Internet address, Sen. Lamar Alexander said the United States should follow the example of France, which promoted nuclear power decades ago. Today, nuclear plants provide 80 percent of France's electricity, and the country has one of the lowest electric rates and carbon emissions in Europe, he said.
In contrast, renewable electricity provides roughly 1.5 percent of the nation's electricity, according to Republicans. Double it or triple it, and "we still don't have much," the Tennessee Republican said.
"There is a potentially a dangerous energy gap between the renewable electricity we want and the reliable electricity we must have," he said.
In contrast to Democrats, Alexander said Republicans:
-Start with conservation and efficiency. "We have so much electricity at night, for example we could electrify half our cars and trucks and plug them in while we sleep without building one new power plant."
-Seek to keep bills down. "Democrats say, put a big new national sales tax on electric bills and gasoline."
-Wish to find more natural gas and oil offshore. "Farmers, homeowners and factories must have the natural gas. And more of the oil we'll still need should be ours, instead of sending billions overseas."