Clean Energy, Green Jobs Advocates Call on the Public Utilities Commission of Texas to Act Now on 500 MW Renewable Energy Rule
Texas Apollo Alliance Asks PUC to Expand Solar and Geothermal with Increased Renewable Power Rule at June 30th Meeting
AUSTIN – The Texas Apollo Alliance, a diverse coalition of businesses, organized labor, community organizations, and environmental groups are encouraging the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUC) to adopt and implement a rule to increase non-wind, renewable energy goals for solar, geothermal, and biomass energy to 500 megawatts of the State’s energy mix at their next open meeting scheduled for June 30th or July 14th.
“With the legislature again telling the PUC to act on their own to implement the 2005 Law, we strongly encourage the PUC to not only adopt the increase in solar and geothermal power in their January proposal, but to also require the full implementation of these new standards by 2015 instead of the proposed 2018 deadline,” said Dave Cortez with the Apollo Alliance. “This expanded clean energy rule will send a strong signal to investors that Texas is truly open for business and it will sow the seeds for a larger, green-collar jobs boom. The PUC has a unique opportunity to help put Texans back to work by implementing this small, but very important renewable energy goal.”
The PUC published the rule back in January and held a public meeting at which the Texas Apollo Alliance announced its support for full implementation of the 500 MW rule, which was initially authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2005 with adoption of SB 20. Because the proposed rule was published in late January, the PUC Commissioners must act at one of the next two meetings, or the six-month timeline for action runs out. If that happened, they would have to republish the rules, again delaying action on the rule.
“While the Legislature did not pass any new laws related to the Renewable Portfolio Standard, they did pass laws related to registration and third-party ownership of renewable energy devices through SB 981, and they also made clear during a House floor discussion on that bill that they want the PUC to go forward on the 500 MW rule,” said Cortez.
Cortez noted that two other bills passed by the Legislature could also spark other renewable energy jobs in Texas:
- HB 362 by Solomons and West – which eases the use of solar devices in Homeowner Associations – and
- SB 943 – which allows electric generators to also build renewable storage devices and sell the resulting electricity into the competitive market.
A recent report published by ERCOT – Report on the Capacity, Demand and Reserves in the ERCOT Region, May 2011 – lists nearly 800 MWs of proposed solar plants that could be constructed in 2012, but many of these developments are awaiting word from the PUC that a market for Renewable Energy Credits will be created through implementation of the rules.
“Not only will these new solar plants help Texas meet its electricity needs over the coming years, they’ll help create a new clean economy that will bring thousands of good-paying, sustainable jobs to our communities,” noted Cortez.
The Texas Apollo Alliance is united in the effort to organize for a rapid transition into the clean energy economy. Together, we are working to devise and promote sound policy aimed at sparking a clean energy rush to Texas that will make Texans energy independent, make us a leader in efficiency, cut our state’s carbon emissions, and help create a new generation of safe, good-paying, green-collar jobs.
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