Fraser’s solar bill, SB 545, just passed out of the Senate floor with a vote of 26 to 4.
SB 545 will:
- Build our emerging renewable technologies
- Create jobs
- Lower electric costs in the long term
- Reduce pollution
- Assure fair prices for excess electricity generated by distributive renewable energy sources; and
- Allow new home buyers to have a solar option.
More specifically, the bill provides $500 million over the next 5 years in solar incentives. The PUC will also have an option of extending the program.
A few good amendments also got tacked on at the 11th hour, so now the bill also contains:
- net metering language, so that folks with solar panels on their homes will be able to sell power back into the grid at a fair rate
- an amendment so that Home Owner’s Associations won’t be able to prevent people from putting solar panels on their homes unless the HOA can prove it is dangerous
- a website requirement so that PUC will have to provide information to the public on solar incentives and subsidies available
- a requirement that electrical coops and munis have to adopt a similar solar program and report back to the lege in 3 years to prove they’ve done their homework
Now all we need to get solar panels on your house… is to get a companion bill through the House
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HB 2721 threatens to fast-track water permits for nuclear plants, which use vast quantities of water. Water is precious, and Governor Perry has just requested federal aid for all 254 counties in Texas due to statewide drought. Water permits should be given careful scrutiny, and not be rushed. This bill, which will be heard tomorrow on Earth Day, would actually deny citizens the right to a contested case hearing for these water permits!
According to Greg Harman over at the San Antonio Current’s QueBlog:
To cool down the superheated water used to create electricity can take hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per minute. According to the Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition fighting nuclear power in the state, the plants proposed at Comanche Peak in North Texas would require104,000 acre feet per year: 33.8 billion gallons.
To ease the potential political stew that could come from the plants’ permit applications (if they are built), Canton-based Representative Dan Flynn filed a bill to fast-track the water permitting process. (Dan was joined by Houston’s Rep. Bill Callegari as co-author a couple days after the bill was filed and has since also been joined by reps Randy Weber, Tim Kleinschmidt, and Phil King.)
Under House Bill 2721, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality must create “reasonably streamlined processes” to move those applications along. One key way to move a controversial permit it to not allow the TCEQ refer it to the State Office of Administrative Hearings for a public airing. (more…)
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