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Indiana General Assembly Adjourns Sine Die Without RES March 31, 2008

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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The 2008 session of the Indiana General Assembly adjourned on Friday, March 14 without enacting a state Renewable Electricity Standard or RES for Indiana electric utilities. Yup, that makes three years in a row that our state legislators were not able to bring us in line with more than half of the other states in the United States that have already adopted an RES.

The last time I wrote about this subject for this blog I described the initial conference committee report offered by Rep. Russ Stilwell for HB 1117. During the final days of the session alternative conference committee report was circulated on behalf of Sen. Brandt Hershman. Most observers believe that Sen. Hershman’s proposal reflected the position of Ed Simcox and the Indiana Energy Association. See www.indianaenergy.org.

The RES portion of this conference committee report was as follows:

Each electricity supplier shall supply electricity that is generated from, or otherwise qualifies as, a renewable energy resource or an advanced energy resource to Indiana customers as a percentage of the total electricity supplied by the electricity supplier to Indiana customers a follows:

2% by 2011 (as compared to 2% by 2010);
4% by 2015 (as compared to 5%);
6% by 2020 (as compared to 8%); and
10% by 2025 (as compared to 12%).

Ok so not as good as the proposal offered by Rep. Stilwell but it was still a start you might think. Yes, but the real debate was over other issues in the bill such as “trackers”.

HB 1280 addressing energy efficient buildings was enacted during the 2008 session, however, it was basically stripped of its original content and was turned into a study committee topic assigned to the Environmental Quality Service Council or EQSC. After a rather lively and lengthy debate –for the short session–, in the Senate Energy & Environmental Affairs Committee chaired by Sen. Beverly Gard (R-Greenfield), HB 1280 was amended to become merely a study committee topic. Sen. Gard did indicate a willingness to amend the bill in Conference Committee and to allow the parties to the discussion to continue negotiations. So HB 1280 was passed by the Senate and then House author Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) dissented on the bill to allow it to be considered in Conference Committee. A Conference Committee hearing was held during the last week of the session; however, a resolution of differences was not reached. During the waning hours of the session, Rep. Pierce withdrew his dissent motion and thereby allowing the House to vote on a concurrence motion to agree with the changes made to the bill in the Senate.

Those interested in learning more about EQSC and its activities during the 2007 interim should visit– http://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/committee/eqsc.html

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