Monday, May 09, 2011

House Energy Committee To Consider House Bill 86 Wednesday

House Bill 86, which would pull Delaware out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), will be taken up at a hearing of the House Energy Committee on Wednesday, May 11 at 4:00 PM.

HB 86 was introduced by Representative Jack Peterman. He is supported in this by the Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI), the 9/12 Delaware Patriots and other forces seeking to turn back the clock on clean energy and environmental protection in Delaware. This effort also involves out of state organizations like the State Policy Network (which provides funding to the CRI) and the American Tradition Institute, which is financing lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of renewable energy laws across the country.

The members of the House Energy Committee are listed below:

Chairman: John A. Kowalko
Vice-Chairman: Dennis E. Williams
Debra J. Heffernan
S. Quinton Johnson
Harvey R. Kenton
Nick T. Manolakos
Michael P. Mulrooney
William R. "Bobby" Outten

RGGI is not just about climate change, although Delaware is uniquely vulnerable to even a modest amount of sea level rise. RGGI funds programs that support energy efficiency and renewable energy programs that have immediate and tangible benefits right here in Delaware.

The projected economic benefits of shifting from coal power to renewable energy are enormous: $1.8 billion to $4.3 billion in reduced health and mortality costs over the next ten years. That’s roughly $2,000 to $4,750 for every Delaware resident. These projected benefits represent 12 percent to 30 percent of Delaware’s 2008 retail electricity sales—far more than RGGI and Delaware’s other renewable policies and programs. And these benefits do not include the development of green industry in Delaware.

These figures come from Delmarva Power, which is required to submit an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the Public Service Commission (PSC) every two years. The draft IRP estimates the environmental impact of Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the planned Bluewater Wind project, other renewable energy sources coming on line, and a sharp reduction in emissions from coal burning power plants in Delaware.
 
There is nothing subtle about the organized opposition to renewable energy in Delaware. The groups mobilizing to oppose RGGI are also opposed to renewable portfolio standards and offshore wind. I expect that HB 86 will not be the last bill introduced to turn back the clock on clean energy in Delaware.

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