Yesterday, I spoke to a group of manufacturers in Arkansas. Throughout the conference there was a fair amount of pride in the successful squashing of Bingaman’s RPS bill — and for reasons that are not entirely unreasonable.
Among the speakers was the chair of the Arkansas Energy Commission, who said that he personally objected to the bill because it was unfair. Specifically, it would not allow Arkansas to count their existing hydro-electric capacity in the RPS targets, but would allow existing wind to count. From his perspective, this looked like a sop to Bingaman’s wind-rich home district, and while we might personally dispute this interpretation, it is easy to see how it could happen.
It is further proof for my earlier point that a path-based RPS is bound to fail, for the simple reason that you will never get a majority of states to agree that a wind/solar dominated RPS is in their interests. Change the structure so that it provides incentives for the goal rather than the path and you could break the southern opposition. There are more low-zero carbon fuels out there than are dreamt of in current RPS philosophies. If your state is long on biomass, bagasse, waste heat or wind, those should all be eligible — not because we redefine our eligibility targets, but because we define the goal in terms of carbon reduction and then open up the door to any path that can get there.
Until then, we’re not going to get an RPS. Note that the southern utilities are boasting about their success in killing this last one — let’s not give them more to crow about.
From Greenwire (sub. rqd.):
Southern utilities led effort to squash Senate RPS proposal
ATLANTA — Southern utilities played key roles in the effort to undermine plans in the Senate last week to require power companies to generate at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy. The fingerprints of the Tennessee Valley Authority and those of the Tennessee Valley Power Providers Association, whose members distribute TVA power to nearly 9 million customers in the South, were all over the successful effort to keep the so-called renewable portfolio standard (RPS) out of the sweeping Senate energy bill.