United States

United States

Allies in Palm Springs and Maine

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While the renewable portfolio standard developed by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has run into a wall of political opposition at California's State Capitol, the City of Palm Springs adopted a resolution on July 17 endorsing the policy. The resolution, introduced by Miles Barrett of Wintec Energy, notes the challenges facing wind during the transition to a more competitive market place: lack of recognition of the environmental and fuel diversity benefits of wind and other renewable resources provide. Also referenced was the $1.3 million in annual property taxes paid to the City of Palm Springs.

On the other side of the country on the same day, the state of Maine also endorsed the concept of a renewable portfolio standard in a proceeding on utility industry restructuring. Though the deadline for a final rule is not until 2000, the plan requires retail sellers of electricity in Maine to buy a minimum amount of renewable energy and that, like AWEA's original proposal in California, compliance could be achieved by entering into renewable energy credits that could be traded among retail sellers.

A different approach to promoting renewables was endorsed by the City of San Jose, California, on August 6 -- exempting all consumers buying wind and renewable energy from utility stranded cost charges. This would be achieved under a direct access contract. The loss of utility revenue from exempting customers from the so-called Competition Transition Charge would be "very small, while the benefits to promoting renewablesÉis very large," writes Rita Norton, San Jose's environmental programme manager, in a letter sent to the chairman of the state conference committee charged with finalising California's deregulation proposal, Democratic Senator Steve Peace.

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