Giving perpetual life to renewable energy credits makes no sense

Posted on June 8, 2011. Filed under: Energy Policy, Renewable energy - generally |


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
JUNE 7, 2011

CONTACT:
SHAINA KILCOYNE
(608) 251-0101
KILCOYNE@CWPB.COM

Giving perpetual life to renewable energy credits makes no sense

Wisconsin Assembly Bill 146 would give Renewable Energy Credits, which can now be “banked” for 4 years, perpetual life.

Supporters of AB-146 claim the primary justification for the bill is that it will save ratepayers money. However, their view of our state’s energy needs does not bear up under analysis. Instead, it is now clear that the bill is an attack on longstanding, bipartisan clean energy policy in our state.

The Wisconsin Energy Business Association asks lawmakers to oppose any further efforts to advance this misguided bill. By allowing unlimited banking of renewable energy credits, the bill would place us at risk of skyrocketing energy costs and would cost Wisconsin jobs and economic investment.

The Bill Would Increase Our Reliance on Costly and Risky Fossil Fuels
Significant rate increases in our state over the past decade have been driven by the cost of new coal plants and expensive retrofits to keep old, inefficient coal plants running, including over $2 billion on coal plant retrofits over the past six years alone. Renewable energy provides an important hedge against increased energy costs, as well as fossil fuel price and security volatility.

Currently, Wisconsin gets over 70 percent of our energy from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. This unbalanced portfolio places our state at risk of price fluctuations, supply disruptions, and regulatory risks. Further, it forces our state to rely almost entirely on out-of-state sources of energy as we have no fossil fuels in Wisconsin. Diversifying our energy portfolio is just sound risk management.

The Bill is Unnecessary and Out of Line with Other States
Wisconsin’s renewable energy standard already contains adequate safeguards for ratepayers. Utilities and ratepayer organizations have the power under existing law to request a waiver or delay of renewable energy purchases. In the entire history of our renewable energy standard, no utility or organization has exercised that right. If there were truly cost concerns with renewable energy, that power certainly would have been exercised.

Further, nearly all states with a renewable energy standard limit credit banking through an expiration date or some other mechanism. Without some type of limiting mechanism, utilities could essentially bank enough credits generated from resources located out-of-state or even in a foreign country such that they would not need to produce or purchase any Wisconsin-based renewable energy in future years.

The Bill Would Damage Wisconsin Jobs, Businesses, and Economic Development

Renewable energy development in Wisconsin has produced well-documented benefits to in-state manufacturers, builders, transportation businesses, and consulting engineers, as well as to rural landowners and local governments. A reasonable limit on renewable energy credits encourages new renewable energy development in the future, which creates Wisconsin jobs and economic development. In addition to increasing electricity rates, AB-146 will eliminate Wisconsin jobs, especially manufacturing jobs in the renewable energy supply chain. This two-pronged jab in the side of our state’s economy would only exacerbate the current economic recession.

In short, AB-146 is bad policy advanced by special interests at the expense of our state’s residents and businesses. The Wisconsin Energy Business Association encourages lawmakers to oppose AB-146 and stand up for Wisconsin jobs and investment.

END

Wisconsin Energy Business Association is a leading business trade association promoting reliable, secure, and cost-effective energy solutions to strengthen our economy and support market-driven innovation and supply chain growth in the energy sector.

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    A statewide nonprofit dedicated to promoting economically and environmentally sustainable energy policies and practices in Wisconsin.

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