Thursday, January 24, 2013

States weigh strengthening, weakening or abolishing rules requiring certain shares of renewable energy

Lawmakers in several states are trying to boost investor confidence in renewable energy amid doubt about the future of its tax credits, which were temporarily extended as part of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, Jim Malewitz of Stateline reports.

In some states, advocates will face increased push-back on policies that have helped spur renewable energy development, either because of budget concerns or ideological reasons, Malewitz writes. Big proposals are being considered in four states: Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and North Carolina. In Hawaii, lawmakers will consider whether to revise a renewable energy tax credit that's helped the state's solar boom, but has also "opened a major hole in the state budget," Malewitz reports. Environmentalists are hopeful that the newly Democratic-run legislature in Minnesota will pass a law requiring utilities to generate at least 10 percent of their electricity from renewables, a higher figure than in most states with such laws. New York will consider legislation to would require at least 30 percent of its energy renewable by 2015.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative, business-backed group, is supporting legislation that would weaken renewable-energy mandates. The group sees North Carolina as a good place to start since its governorship and legislature are Republican-controlled for the first time since Reconstruction. (Read more)

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