Conservation and tax incentives for new energy supplies are two of the short term answers for the energy crisis on the U.S. west coast.
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Energy Marketers Association (NEMA) says conservation incentive rates for all customers are needed, in addition to emergency conservation actions by state governments, utilities and consumers. Tax incentives should also be considered for investments in new energy supplies, conservation, technology, and infrastructure. California Governor Davis has proposed low-cost solutions to the current crisis, but federal and state lawmakers are anxious to avoid the legal, regulatory, economic and political policies of the 1970s that led to “a decade of recession, stagnation and inflation,” says NEMA in its proposal. Other options include commoditizing energy loads to buy down peak usage and use of existing regulatory power to override stalled generation siting decisions. In the longer term, there should be better recognition in local siting decisions of the regional economic impacts of inadequate energy supplies, and regulatory incentives for congestion management, maintenance coordination and infrastructure improvements. There should also be regulatory incentives for advanced metering, computer system upgrades, distributed generation and streamlined interconnection procedures. “There are significant investments that must be made to bring the United States energy infrastructure into the digital age,” says NEMA president Craig Goodman, former director of oil and energy tax policy in the Reagan and Bush administrations. “The U.S. and global economies cannot stand black-outs in Silicon Valley.” “Despite all the miscalculations that led to this crisis, energy price spikes can always be predicted if new supplies are not added while demand increases,” he adds. “Every state has a legitimate interest in protecting in-state consumers from increasing energy prices. However, the current 60- year old system of federal and state laws and regulations were designed around a local franchise monopoly paradigm.” To deliver the lowest possible prices to consumers, new laws and regulations are needed immediately so competitive suppliers can aggregate energy demand and deliver national economies of scale to small consumers. NEMA is a national trade association that represents marketers of energy products and services throughout the U.S.