On December 16, the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) published a proposed rule for a new non-wind renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The proposed rule drastically reduces the target set by the Texas Legislature in 2005 of 500 MW by the year 2015. The new target for 2015 is now 30 MW. This reduction is equivalent to a decrease from enough renewable energy to power 250,000 homes (500 MW) to enough energy to power 15,000 homes (30 MW).
“After years of dragging their feet in responding to the Legislature’s 2005 target, the PUC has decided to send a message to renewable energy companies to invest elsewhere,” said Colin Meehan, Renewable Energy Specialist for Environmental Defense Fund.
The PUC has not only ignored the will of the 79th Legislature, but the five years of work by staff and stakeholders who analyzed the costs and benefits of the 500 MW target. The commissioners will have 180 days to make a decision on the proposed rule.
“Time is running out to capitalize on the job creation and investment potential that a new clean energy economy promises,” said Jim Marston, National Energy Program Director and Texas Regional Director for Environmental Defense Fund. “Texas is too big a player to rely on a handful of municipally-owned utilities outside the PUC’s control to attract clean energy businesses,” added Marston.
If the Legislature does not provide clarity on its 2005 mandate or pass any new renewable energy incentives or mandates during the 2011 Session, this 30 MW target by 2015 could become Texas’ de facto policy on non-wind renewable energy development. “If this proposal becomes policy, it will be clear to solar and other renewable energy companies across the globe that Texas is clearly not open for business,” added Meehan.
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