STATES MANDATE NEW ENERGY, SPARK BOOMS
Fossil fuel advocates argue that renewables alone cannot power the nation. NewEnergyNews says you don’t know what renewables can do until you stop subsidizing fossil fuels and get behind New Energy.
States tap power of renewable energy
Jordan Schrader, August 21, 2007 (USA Today)
State political leaders, renewable energy industry representatives and activists
Now there are even more states with Renewable Energy Standards (RES). (click to enlarge)
For more current map, click here.
Goals to obtain designated portions of their electricity are being set by more and more states and congress will consider a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) next month. This presents new opportunities and new challenges for New Energy.
- The states’ goals vary. Some standards come due as early as 2010. Others reach out as far as 2020 or 2025. Some states’ standards include annual targets.
- The bill passed by the House of Representatives in July called for U.S. private utilities to obtain 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. It will not become law or have a final form until it works its way through a conference process with the Senate and is signed into law by President Bush, who opposes to the idea.
- Washington, New Hampshire and Oregon passed their standards last year. North Carolina passed its law this month.
- 25 states and the District of Columbia have standards. Illinois, Virginia and Missouri have non-binding goals.
- The states set differing goals and define “renewables” differently. Example: The North Carolina law requires utilities to produce 7.5% of electricity from renewable energies by 2021 + meet 5% of demand with more renewables or efficiency reductions allows home energy bill increases of up to $34/year.
- The effect on utility rate costs is undetermined. Example: NC utilities predict $1 billion in rate increases through 2017 but others hundreds of millions in savings instead.
- Texas, with enormous renewable resources, quickly met the standard it set in 1999 and upped its standard to 5% by 2015.
- Some states are not so blessed with abundant renewable sources and even states with standards may not meet them. California is not likely to meet its 20% by 2010 goal. Massachusetts companies only met the 2005 interim 2% goal by paying the state.
- Even some environmentalists debate what types of renewables are acceptable and whether politicians should be meddling with energy development and argue that political deals often only get by lobbyist-influenced legislators because they have hidden clauses that are counter-productive.
- Fossil fuel advocates argue that renewables alone cannot power the nation.
When the subsidies shift away from fossil fuels, these prices will be competitive. (click to enlarge)
- Dave Hollister, co-founder, Sundance Power Systems (Mars Hill, N.C.): "We're seeing a dramatic upswing in the interest in renewable energy from the general public…Ultimately what's going to happen is if the utilities don't do it, the people are going to do it anyway and the utilities are going to be left on the sideline."
- University of Michigan public policy professor Barry Rabe: “It's uncertain how the laws will affect electrical rates…”
- Oregon state Sen. Brad Avakian (D): "We had wind- and solar- and wave-power industries contacting us, champing at the bit to get here…and I just have no question this is going to be a great new industry for the state."
- Richard Fireman, environmentalist/ regional director, North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light: "We're under a time constraint here before we pass several tipping points that are going to prevent us from really mitigating climate change…"
- Paige Sheehan, spokeswoman, Duke Energy: "We will never be able to generate all the power that we need with just renewables…"