Missouri OKs renewables portfolio; California refuses to up standard

Missouri voters adopted a renewables portfolio standard Nov. 4 that includes hydropower, while California voters rejected a plan to expand and increase that state’s existing renewables standard.

Missouri voters back renewables including hydro

Missourians passed a renewable energy ballot initiative to create a state renewables portfolio standard that includes small hydropower. The Secretary of State’s office said two-thirds of voters approved Proposition C, 1,772,432 to 912,000.

The initiative requires investor-owned electric utilities, which control 76 percent of Missouri’s generation, to obtain electricity from renewable energy sources such as small hydropower, solar, wind, and biomass. Renewable energy sources must supply at least 2 percent of retail sales by 2011, increasing incrementally to at least 15 percent by 2021.

Hydropower projects would be eligible to meet the mandated targets if they do not require a new diversion or impoundment of water and they have capacities of 10 MW or less. Pumped storage is excluded.

Missourians for Cleaner Cheaper Energy, of St. Louis, sponsored the measure, which also repeals Missouri’s existing voluntary renewable energy standard. The group said the initiative would reduce the use of fossil fuel for electricity and encourage growth in Missouri’s renewable energy industries.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan placed the initiative on the ballot in September, after a Cole County Circuit Court judge concluded a sufficient number of valid signatures was submitted to put it there. (HNN 9/11/08)

Californians defeat move to expand, increase renewables standard

Meanwhile, California voters defeated a renewable energy ballot measure, Proposition 7, with 64.9 percent of votes cast in opposition and only 35.1 percent voting in favor. About 9.5 million votes were cast on the measure.

Opponents argued the initiative contained a provision that would shut smaller renewable energy companies out of California’s market. They said renewable power from power plants under 30 MW would not count toward meeting the law.

California’s current renewables portfolio standard requires investor-owned utilities and electric service providers to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2010. (HNN 10/24/08) The unsuccessful Proposition 7 would have expanded that requirement to include government-owned utilities.

Additionally, the proposition would have raised renewables requirements to 40 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2025. It would have imposed penalties for non-compliance and required utilities to sign contracts for a minimum of 20 years to procure renewable energy.

California’s three largest investor-owned utilities -� Pacific Gas &Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas &Electric -� opposed Proposition 7. Other opponents included the California League of Conservation Voters, California Solar Energy Industries Association, and Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, and Environmental Defense Fund.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, another opponent, said the measure’s provisions would disrupt renewable power development, drive up costs, and stall efforts to substitute clean power for more expensive energy sources.

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