New Texas Legislation Encourages Renewable Energy

The Texas House of Representatives adopted new legislation to ensure the development of 500 megawatts (MW) of “non-wind” renewable energy by 2015. Non-wind renewable energy sources include biomass, geothermal and hydropower.

The legislation, which was included as an amendment to S.B. 483, was offered by Representative Wayne Christian (his bill, H.B. 1214, was adopted on April 12 by the House by a 141-0 vote). This legislation, which mirrors H.B. 1214, creates a mandatory non-wind goal within the Texas renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The Texas RPS, originally adopted in 1999, is widely viewed as one of the most successful mechanisms in the nation to stimulate the growth of renewable energy — wind energy in particular. Several other states have created separate classes of renewable energy requirements within their RPSs to ensure the use of targeted natural resources and specific technologies. This “tiered” approach yields the development of the broadest range of renewable energy resources and delivers the greatest benefit to consumers. If signed into law this year, H.B. 1214, which still awaits a Senate hearing, or S.B. 483 as amended, would foster reliable and renewable energy sources; diversify the electricity generation portfolio in Texas and encourage development of new renewable resources throughout the state; and lower electricity rates for Texas consumers by reducing the reliance on the state’s most expensive and inefficient peak power plants.

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