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Reid Introduces ‘Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act’ March 7, 2009

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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No doubt the issue of an adequate transmission grid is important to the successful development of renewable energy projects in the U.S. What is not clear is how this proposed federal legislation would impact SB 201. The House sponsor of SB 201 is Rep. Win Moses, Jr. (D-Ft. Wayne). SB 201 has been assigned to the House Commerce, Energy, Technology and Utilities Committee chaired by Rep. Moses.

SB 201 allows a public utility that proposes to take, acquire, condemn, or appropriate land, real estate, or any interest in land or real estate for certain projects related to electric line facilities to obtain from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) a certificate of authority. It requires the IURC to hold a public hearing and to find that the public utility has demonstrated certain elements, and to encourage investment in electric line facilities by creating financial incentives that the IURC finds to be reasonable and necessary.

This bill modifies common law to provide that the owner of land against which eminent domain is initiated may object to the public purpose and necessity of the project only if the condemnor has not been issued a certificate of authority. It requires the IURC to allow the recovery of reasonable and necessary costs incurred by an energy utility in connection with a green infrastructure project that provides electric, steam, or gas service to or receives electric, steam, or gas service from an alternate energy production facility. It also provides that an energy utility may implement a rate adjustment if the IURC fails to act on an application.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has scheduled a committee hearing Thursday, March 12 beginning at 9:30 AM on Sen. Harry Reid’s proposal called the Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act. The committee website provides Archived Webcasts as well as an opportunity to watch live webcasts.

Mar. 06, 2009
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

Reid pushes bill to make renewable energy ‘top national priority’

By STEVE TETREAULT
STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON — Sen. Harry Reid introduced legislation Thursday to speed development of a green-powered electricity system, an effort he said was a big part of his vision of a nation that might someday run on renewable energy.

“Reforming our energy policies to build a cleaner, greener, national transportation system — an electric superhighway — must be a top national priority,” Reid said as he submitted the bill, called the Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act.

The measure sponsored by the Senate majority leader from Nevada is expected to receive a good deal of attention in Congress this year as lawmakers focus on President Barack Obama’s goals to increase use of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources.

The Senate energy committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill; it is likely to be rolled into broad legislation the panel plans to write later this month.

The bill expands authority for federal electricity regulators to keep projects on track, a matter expected to spark debate on states’ rights. The power to locate transmission lines traditionally has been guarded by the states.

But streamlined planning and utility line siting could save years, a Reid aide said. A high- voltage transmission project that normally would take eight to 16 years to build could be finished in three to five years under terms set by the measure.

Under the bill the government would designate zones that hold the potential to generate 1 gigawatt of electricity from geothermal, solar, wind or other natural sources, but that cannot be reached by the present grid.

It directs states, utilities and developers to cooperate in forming plans to integrate renewables into the current transmission system, to map new lines and conduct studies of what could be saved through new efforts at energy efficiency.

The government through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would be authorized to step in “to keep things moving” if there are delays anywhere in the process, Reid said.

Scot Rutledge, executive director of the Nevada Conservation League, said several areas in Nevada with “excellent solar, wind and geothermal resources” could be designated special renewable energy zones.

“Right now, only a small percentage of Nevada’s power comes from renewable energy because it’s impossible to get energy from remote areas of Nevada, where it is generated, to the cities that need it,” Rutledge said. “Sen. Reid’s bill will encourage renewable energy development in Nevada, create thousands of new, green jobs, and put Nevada on the map as a leader in a clean energy economy.”

State utility regulators were cautious on Reid’s proposal.

Frederick Butler, chairman of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, said in a statement that the group hopes to work with Reid on the issue. “We are optimistic that our continued dialogue will produce a better outcome for consumers and the environment,” he said of the proposal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760.

Find this article here.

Also see T. Boone Pickens new ad supporting a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) and a new electricity grid. View ad.

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