Texas Legislative Update – May 12, 2009
Posted by youngsierrans on May 12, 2009
Great News! Senate passes SB 541 by a vote of 24-7. This bill would require electric companies to develop utility-scale solar, geothermal and biomass energy. SB 541 is one of the two major renewable energy bills supported by ACT this session (The other is Senator Fraser’s SB 545.). Thanks to Senator Watson for his leadership in renewable energy this session!
Today, Tuesday, May 12th, the Texas House will consider HB 280 by Rafael Anchia that would increase the goals for meeting our electricity demand through energy efficiency programs. Existing law requires the nine investor-owned utilities to meet 20 percent of the growth in electrical demand in 2009. HB 280 and its companion in the Senate SB 546 would raise this to 30 percent of growth by 2012, and one percent of total peak demand by 2016. Today, HB 280 is scheduled to come to the House floor for debate.
Background: In 2007, the Legislature enacted a law that raised the goal that utilities must meet from energy efficiency programs to 20 percent this year and also required an exhaustive study of whether to raise the efficiency goal beyond 20 percent of growth in peak demand. The report found that raising the goal to 30 percent by 2010 and 50 percent by 2015 was not only achievable, but would save between $4 and $12 billion over the next 20 years to consumers. It will also lead to reductions in emissions of global warming gases, and create jobs in the energy efficiency industries according to the study.
HB 280 would follow the recommendation of the PUC study and raise the utility goal to 30 percent of growth in demand by 2012 giving an extra two years for utilities to meet the goals and then raise the goal to one percent of total peak demand, which is equivalent to a little more than 50 percent of growth in demand.