Friday, June 29, 2007
The Senate has approved Senate Bill 3 , Renewable Energy/Baseload Provisions on second reading. This bill started out similar to House Bill 77, Promote Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, sponsored by Representatives Martin, Harrell, Justice, and myself. After months of negotiations, the Senate bill was loaded up with provisions to get buy-in from a variety of interest groups, from Wal-mart to homebuilders to chemical companies, and especially the utilities. As a result, there are many troubling provisions in the bill, which we hope to fix in the House. The most troubling relate to financing new nuclear and coal fired power plants, which shifts the risk from the investors to the rate payers. This fight was fought in the early 1980s, and the consumers prevailed, but not this time around. The House will give this bill the scrutiny it deserves. It is important that we pass a renewable energy bill, but not necessarily with provisions making it easier to build new coal and nuclear plants.