The Renewable Portfolio Standard will return to Congress.
Multiple Dems have vowed that the RPS will return as a separate bill when Congress is back in session. I believe them exactly 87 percent.
Despite the recent energy bill debacle, the RPS is not entirely political poison. Some 29 states have adopted one (a confusing patchwork!) and a 10 percent RPS actually passed in the Senate in 2005, only to be rejected by the House (the inverse of what happened this year).
The "one size fits all" complaint is largely baseless; a well-designed RPS would be an economic boon for every state in the union, and nothing attracts votes like an economic boon. Also, the politics of renewable energy have shifted considerably. The public is aware and engaged, and this is, after all, an election year.
There are plenty of legislators in the pocket of big coal-heavy utilities like Southern — they’re probably out of reach for good. But a savvy strategy could pick off enough outliers to get this through. Sadly, savvy strategies are little in evidence thus far in the Dem Congress.
My cynical-and-thus-probably-true prediction: The RPS will be introduced as a separate bill; Republicans will threaten veto; a cloture vote will fail; rather than force a veto, Reid will let the bill die. Yippee.