Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Energy Bills on the Senate Agenda Today

El Somnambulo of Delaware Liberal linked to this site for information on two energy bills on the Senate agenda today. So here's the rundown:
SB 106 would create new Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS). It's a top policy priority of Governor Markell.
Under the bill, Delaware's electricity consumption would be reduced by 15 percent by 2015, and natural gas consumption would be reduced by 10 percent. The bill would also create a workgroup to monitor progress, and adjust the standards if shifts in energy usage (such as heating oil to natural gas) make the targets impractical or unattainable.
SB 173 further tweaks the Sustainable Energy Utility—which is still a work in progress. It would allow local governments to tap the SEU for help funding energy projects. It would also give the SEU the authority to trade Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), which are treated differently than RECs. The SEU has been approached by Dover and Newark about assisting in financing possible renewable energy projects.
The SEU remains controversial among environmentalists, who support its aims, but remain deeply suspicious of Harris McDowell because of his opposition to Bluewater Wind and the way the SEU has been managed to date. (On the latter point, I find it encouraging to see DNREC Secretary Collin O'Mara taking a strong hand in the SEU's management.)
In this instance, it's useful to keep in mind the adage that one should not imagine one's adversaries to be enemies. In Leg Hall, an adversary on one bill may well be an ally on the next. For instance, at last week's Energy & Transit Committee meeting, I was happy with the way McDowell handled two bills (SB 85 and SB 106) but dismayed to see SB 153, enabling V2G cars to connect to the grid, held up thanks to complaints from Delmarva Power and an evident lack of enthusiasm from the chair.

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