Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer strengthened his reputation as a green power proponent last month by vetoing a pair of bills that threatened to dilute the state's renewable energy standard (RES) law. One of the bills would have allowed hydro power to qualify for meeting the RES mandate for 15% renewable energy by 2015 and the other would have devalued green energy produced in Montana by allowing power marketers to separate the renewable energy credit (REC) value from the electricity itself, essentially making the state's RECs incompatible with regional standards. Under the bill, utilities could count power bought from qualifying facilities towards their RES quotas without paying for the associated REC, essentially leading to double counting if the associated credit was later sold to a third party. From the Montana Environmental Information Center, Anne Hedges praises Schweitzer but warns of the uncertainty created by legislators trying to undermine the renewables market. "If every two years our legislature can play around with these incentives, then there's not a lot of certainty." Hedges warns that wind developers may abandon Montana for states with more stable green power markets.
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