APPA changes policy, backs federal renewable electricity standard

In a policy shift from previous years, American Public Power Association members passed a resolution Feb. 24 supporting adoption of a federal mandatory renewable electricity standard for utilities, if certain conditions are met.

Members of APPA’s Legislative and Resolutions Committee met in an annual Legislative Rally in Washington, adopting 11 resolutions including support of a federal renewable electricity standard and an improved electricity transmission system.

A renewable electricity standard would require electric utilities to supply a portion of their electricity from renewable energy sources. A measure in Senate committee proposes a 20 percent renewables rate by 2021. Legislation in the House proposes 25 percent by 2025, the same rate put forward by President Obama when he was on the campaign trail. (HNN 2/11/09)

The APPA resolution declared the public power utilities would support a renewable electricity standard based on retail sales by large sellers, set at a level not to exceed 15 percent, and not requiring full compliance before 2020.

�While the American Public Power Association strongly supports the development of energy from renewable resources, we have not supported a federal mandate in the past because we have argued that this is an issue that should be handled at state and local levels,� the renewable electricity resolution said. �… However, recognizing that a federal renewable electricity standard is highly likely to be approved by Congress and signed into law in the near future, APPA has determined it is best to support the concept, but to at the same time urge Congress to pass the most workable, efficient, and least-cost framework for the federal standard.�

APPA: Hydropower should be included

The APPA resolution also conditioned its support on a requirement that the broadest range of renewable energy sources be eligible, including incremental hydropower from improvements at existing hydro projects, and new hydropower added to existing hydro and non-hydro dams.

In addition, the resolution said the standard must exclude utilities’ existing hydropower from their base amount of electricity when calculating the amount of renewable energy they must obtain. It said that should include existing hydropower owned by the federal government.

It said any renewables credits that accrue to federally owned hydro generation marketed by federal power marketing administrations should be provided directly to the power customers affected by renewable electricity standards or should be sold with proceeds going to repayment of affected projects as determined by federal power customers.

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