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Archive for May 13th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon the Texas Senate passed through SB 541, a bill authored by Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin) to create a non-wind renewable portfolio standard.  If passed through the House, SB 541 would put Texas on course to have 1500 MW of renewable energy from non-wind sources such as solar, geothermal, and biomass.

If you follow us on Twitter, of course this is old news to you.  Public Citizen Texas has been using our Twitter feed to keep folks updated on breaking legislative news and votes, as well as to share interesting news articles and blog posts. Check it out:sb541twitter

If this sounds appealing to you, why not give us a follow?  We promise not to tweet your ear off.

Thanks to Senator Watson’s SB 541, Texas could become a national leader in solar energy just as are in the wind industry. Along with Senator Fraser’s 545, which will provide $500 million in solar incentives over the next 5 years, SB 541 will ensure that incentives are provided for both the large, utility scale solar and small-scale distributed solar that Texas needs.

While we would have preferred a larger renewable portfolio standard, Public Citizen is delighted that this bill has passed the Texas Senate.  This is a major step forward for Texans that will create tens of thousands of new clean green jobs within the state and lead to lower electric bills by hedging against the price of natural gas.

Hopefully the Texas House will see the light on solar power and pass an even stronger set of renewable energy goals that will make the grass grow greener, our air cleaner, and the green economy stronger.

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Kudos and many thanks to San Antonio’s outgoing Mayor Hardberger and council members Justin Rodriguez, Jennifer Ramos, Lourdes Galvan, and Phillip Cortez for signing on to a letter urging Congressman Charlie Gonzalez to get with the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act program.

The letter reads:

We have an unprecedented opportunity to put San Antonians to work in new green jobs — building wind turbines, installing solar panels, weatherizing homes, and laying a smarter electric grid that will power our new energy economy.  We also believe it is of the utmost important that we rescue our children, our grandchildren, and the world they’ll inherit from the ravages of global warming.

According to Greg Harman at the San Antonio Current’s QueQue blog,

The cadre adds the weight of local elected leadership to an ongoing campaign working to ensure San Antonio’s representative in Congress (serving on the influential House Committee on Energy & Commerce) pushes for binding commitments to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions quickly while transitioning the economy into a more sustainable direction.

Hopefully Charlie is feeling the pressure and will back away from the polluter giveaways he’s been flirting with as of late.  That’s because, everybody with me now, Giving Away Allowances is a Terrible Way to Write This Bill.  EPA’s most recent analysis says that giving away pollution credits is “highly regressive”, meaning it hurts low-income families the most. At best, this is a bailout and a free ride for the polluters. At worst it will create windfall profits for huge energy companies at the expense of every lower and middle income family in Texas.

Just listen to that broken record spin. No shame here, I’ll say it as many times as it takes for it sink in.

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