The latest political wolf in sheep’s clothing comes from a conservative, big oil funded organization taking aim at renewable energy with model legislation they plan to push on targeted state legislatures around the country. At their annual conference this year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) proposed The Market-Power Renewables Act, draft legislation that would place significant limitations on a state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
According to the model legislation:
The legislature finds that the current system of mandated purchase of renewable energy has created negative economic and environmental consequences. The high cost of renewable energy is paid by all state citizens, including those who already struggle to pay the cost of electricity. Renewable portfolio standards actually limit the amount of renewable energy sold by removing the incentive for electric utilities or electricity ratepayers to purchase anything above the mandated amounts.
ALEC claims that the Market-Power Renewables Act will increase renewable energy production by eliminating burdensome state regulations on renewable energy generation requirements. However, despite it’s free-market sounding name, the potential legislation is in fact a stealth attack on renewable energy sources designed to keep the door open for fossil fuel power generation on behalf of big oil and gas corporations. The model legislation would weaken state clean energy standards by replacing a state’s RPS with what ALEC claims is a voluntary market for renewable energy credits, but in fact a voluntary market already exists and this legislation would misleadingly decrease renewable energy generation by utilities.
While the legislation is framed to appear as pro-renewable, in reality, if enacted, it would free utilities from regulations that require them to get a portion of their electricity from renewable sources. The Market-Power Renewables Act would also be a huge set-back for state laws that are incentivizing clean energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal, resulting in reduced investment in local renewable energy development in states that adopt this new bill.
This year, 77 ALEC bills have been filed in 34 states with the ultimate goal of benefiting big oil and gas corporations. This model legislation and the tactics employed by ALEC shows us once again the lengths some will go to in order to protect outmoded industries at the expense of truth and progress.
Fortunately, the news about the future outlook for renewables, like wind and solar, is very positive. And in the end, that truth will win the day, and ALEC and its anti-renewable message and mission will lose.