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“Alive… It’s alive!….. IT’S ALIVE!!” RES that is! February 14, 2008

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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This morning (02/14/08) in a narrow 6-5 vote in the Senate Utilities & Regulatory Affairs Committee, HB 1117 was amended with a strip and insert amendment. The amendment removed the provisions added by Rep. Dale Grubb (D-Covington) that provided a tax credit for purchases from an Indiana business of certain equipment used to produce energy derived from the use of wind or from the use of anaerobic digesters. HB 1117 Amendment #2 then adds the contents of SB 224 as reprinted January 29, 2008.

Sen. Hershman explained that basically HB 1117 contained the same language as SB 223 and SB 223 was just voted out of the House Commerce Energy and Utilities Committee earlier that morning. He also noted that thus far SB 224 had not been scheduled for a committee hearing in the House; therefore, he was amending HB 1117 and indicated this was the “last gasp for RES” this session. RES refers to legislation to establish a Renewable Electricity Standard that died earlier in the session in the House.

Brief testimony was taken on the amended version of the bill. Jewell DuBonis with Lewis & Kappes representing the Indiana Industrial Energy Consumers (INDIEC) stated they were against the trackers in the amendment but they had “no position on the renewables language”.

Paul Chase representing the Citizens Action Coalition (CAC) stated “We are in opposition to the amendment. We oppose the whole thing. This is an improper approach to RES. With the low standards for RES, it is basically business as usual.” Chase added that the trackers in the amendment are unnecessary and they will add a tremendous additional cost to consumers.

Committee Chairman Sen. Hershman asked Chase to speculate about the future of the bill and suggested that when HB 1117 returns to the House it would likely go to a Conference Committee. Chase responded by saying that the amendment did not do enough to kick start the renewable market. Sen. Hershman then suggested “CAC does not want to continue the RES discussion?” Chase responded by saying, “It’s not about coal. We shouldn’t have to swallow coal.”

Terrence Black with Green Way Supply and a Founding Member of the Indiana Renewable Energy Association said that his company recently received 162 wind energy generation inquiries with half farmers and business owners. Black simply asked the committee to support alternative energy generation.

Tim Maloney representing the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) stated “HEC wants to see a clean RES proposal.”

Ed Simcox representing the Indiana Energy Association whose members are the investor-owned utility companies made reference to renewables language in the last session that was more ambitious. Simcox portrayed wind as a supplement but not as a replacement for coal-fired generation. He referred to solar as “off the charts” as compared to the price of existing base load coal-fired electricity generation. He concluded that the meager 6% goal in the amendment of which 3% can be met with coal technology as a “reasonable start to get Indiana in the game given what other states are doing.”

In conclusion before the committee voted, Sen. Hershman said of HB 1117, “It will be subject to negotiation but there will be no negotiation if there is no bill.”

Two roll call votes were taken; first on the amendment itself and then on the bill as amended, however, the votes and the outcome were the same. With a vote of 6 to 5, HB 1117 now moves on to second reading on the Senate floor.

The vote tally was as follows:

Voting “NO” were Senators Errington, Breaux, Rogers, Tallian, and Landske.

Voting “YES” were Senators Mishler, Gard, Charbonneau, Kruse, Merritt and Hershman.

For an amended version of the bill see: http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2008/PDF/EH/EH1117.1.pdf

Dr. Frankenstein said: “Alive… It’s alive!….. IT’S ALIVE!!”

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