With the announcement of the Texas Legislature Committee rosters, I thought that some light should be shed on the 2009 Legislative Recommendations as posted by the Alliance for a Clean Texas. You can read the full reports here, but here’s a quick-read version for renewable energy and energy efficiency issues:
- Diversify our Renewable Energy Mix. Its no surprise to most of us that Texas is in first place for renewable energy resources. Legislation has historically supported wind energy, but so much of our potential has not been tapped. Studies have shown that that our potential for solar is even greater than that of wind.
- Incentives for Solar Roofs and other On-site Renewables. Instead of relying on power plants to supply our energy, wouldn’t it be great if we could have our power sources closer to home? On-site renewable technologies would be cheaper considering the spike in energy costs during high-demand season, and of course would help to improve air quality. Solar power is especially efficient, with new technologies that can be installed directly on the roofs of buildings. However, the current cost of a home or commericial system is still not cost-effective without government incentives. Solar power is estimated to reach parity with traditional electricity sources within the next five years. By getting a jump on it ahead of time, early investment will allow Texas to benefit economically as demand increases.
- Raise the Energy Efficiency Goal. Texas should aim to decrease both energy demand and energy usage. ACT recommends that the Legislature should raise the goal to 1.0 percent of peak demand and energy use by 2015 (equivalent to 50 percent load growth by 2015). By contributing only a small percentage of revenue, utility companies can invest in energy efficiency programs that will decrease peak demand of energy usage. In 2007, the legislature unanimously approved a 20% decrease in load growth by 2009, and a research study required by the legislation also supported our ability to cut load growth by 50% by 2015. (more…)