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8871RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature

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  • Anne Kelly
    Jun 3, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Great letter, Tyra.  Please forward it to our governer and the legislators!

      --- On Wed, 6/3/09, Tyra Rankin <tyra@...> wrote:

      From: Tyra Rankin <tyra@...>
      Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 9:21 AM



      I take your comment to heart – I do know that TREIA has done a lot of work on renewables.  My experience, however at trying to get involved with TREIA around solar is that they are horribly resistant to change, do not study other solutions and for the last 10 years, have proposed the same solar solution, session after session to the Texas legislature, namely “non-wind.”  When I tried to dialogue with them on the in-efficacy of this policy for solar, I was basically silenced.  They are not inclusive of new people, new ideas and new studies. 


      I do not propose to have the solutions, but I did an enormous amount of research on solar policy for my master’s thesis on solar policy at UH law.  I discovered that in Europe and elsewhere there are 20 year studies analyzing and comparing which policies work for solar, which do not and why.  The results of those studies are extremely conclusive.  Texas is a perfect example of the failure of a Renewable Portfolio Standard to deploy solar.  TREIA refuses to consider such studies.


      I am critical of how we in Texas generally approach solar, especially our legislature and current governor.  Governor Perry frequently addresses groups claiming that “ Texas is number one in the country in wind and number two in solar.”  (TREIA has published his comment as well.)  While the first part of his statement is true, the second, in the context of generation from renewables is dead wrong.  Texas generates 99.9% of renewable energy from wind alone.  The Texas resource for solar may be second in the country, but its generation with that resource is just about last.  The Texas legislature takes an ineffective shot-gun approach to addressing solar.


      Texas as a state needs to study the experience of other states and other countries in implementing solar.   Texas needs to formulate a cohesive, long term policy for solar if it wants to truly bring solar industry and generation to Texas .  For the next legislative session, Texas should not rely on the Federal Government to present the solar solutions; Texas must have the guts, vision and leadership to explore something new and implement a long term policy strategy.  To do so will take a collaborative approach across industries, educational institutions, government, non-profits and citizens.   





      From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups. com ] On Behalf Of Andrew McCalla
      Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 6:57 AM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
      Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature


      Tyra and Stephen,


      On this point you are both way off the mark. 


      I can personally vouch and account for TREIA’s efforts at this most recent legislative session, if not over the period of its existence.  While not focused exclusively on solar legislation (it is a Renewable Energy trade association, and despite my solar bias, there are others), TREIA spent more time than you can possibly imagine (clearly) on educating, strategizing, organizing, and supporting decision makers and action takers who were involved with these now ill-fated bills.

      Andrew H. McCalla

      Meridian Solar, Inc. (TECL:24461)
      4109 Todd Lane, Suite 900

      Austin , TX 78744

      P: 512.448.0055 ext. 103
      D: 512.410.3872
      F: 512.448.0045
      andrew@meridiansola r.com
      www.meridiansolar. com


      This communication, along with any documents, files or attachments, is intended for the use of only the addressee and contains privileged and confidential info rmation. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of any info rmation contained in or attached to this communication is strictly prohibited.  If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately by e-mail reply and destroy the original communication and its attachments without reading, printing or saving in any manner.


      From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups. com ] On Behalf Of Tyra Rankin
      Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 12:56 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
      Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature


      Thank you Steven, for having the courage to speak the truth.  I thought I was alone in recognizing that TREIA was not interested in supporting solar for Texas . 


      Que Lastima, indeed… everyone looses.




      From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups. com ] On Behalf Of Steven Shepard
      Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 11:02 AM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
      Subject: Re: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature


      Thanks for the update.
      Another shot in the teeth for renewable energy here in Texas . 
      Que lastima.

      Thanks ASES and TREIA for throwing your entire support behind Texas big wind projects, large energy corporations, utility interests and generally neglecting solar and small wind.    We can see the fruits of your labor and the lack of support for renewable energy dealers across the state.  Lets see if the utilities will continue their donations to you so they can use your non-profit status as a front for their bogus green interests.  I guess grass roots support for renewable energy may be necessary after all.

      And the game goes on and on.  The band is playing while the ship sinks.
      Hey, but I'm not bitter.




      From: Jim & Janet <jhd1@earthlink. net>
      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
      Sent: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 9:35:02 AM
      Subject: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature


      ----- Original Message -----

      Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 11:52 PM

      Subject: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature


      I assume that useful solar energy legislation died in the last session. Am I correct?


      Thanks, Bill S



      Here's the reply via NTREG

      ************ ********* ********* *******


      > --- On Tue, 6/2/09, Jason Coffman wrote:
      > So what ever happened here? From what I can see,
      > this was never voted on. Was it killed in committee?
      > I see it went to committee on 5/30, but I don't see a
      > vote or anything that was supposed to happen on 5/31.


      Jason and everyone,

      This is a long reply, but well worth reading....
      At the moment, it's bad news, but may not be permanently so.
      This is a complicated situation. I was hoping to wait a few more days before reporting on the outcome, because there's a microscopic glimmer of hope it could yet change.
      However .. since you've asked .. here's where we stand:
      You're correct. The key solar bills we were watching never came up for a final vote, killing them (for now).
      Of 208 pieces of legislation introduced in the 2009 session dealing with solar and/or renewables in some form, only one made it to Governor Perry's desk -- a bill allowing homeowners to finance the purchase of solar energy equipment through the state, then pay for their purchase over the next 20 years by an increase in their property tax. With no other incentives, it may be difficult to motivate people to use this program when the up-front cost is so high.
      Now for the [possibly] good news.
      Many vital legislative actions also failed. Case in point: the vote to continue the Department of Transportation didn't happen.
      Legislation failed that would keep the Texas Dept of Transportation funded. The DOT will essentially be shut down if lawmakers don’t vote to keep it funded. That alone virtually guarantees a special session.
      Now then, Governor Perry is the only person with the authority to call a special session.
      He is also the only one who can set the agenda for the special session.
      *IF* he does call a special session, and it's a virtual certainty he will (if only to address the DOT situation at the moment), it opens the door for an opportunity to influence him to include other bills, such as solar. It also opens the door for him to include the voter ID bill, which is at the very heart of all the dissention in the first place.

      Many "IFs" here.

      *IF* Governor Perry calls a special session...

      *IF* he can be persuaded to include the solar bills in that session...

      *IF* the bills get consideration in that special session...

      *IF* the outcome is positive ...

      Only then will we stand a chance to see the solar bills become law.
      There are *many* people and organizations who will be working on behalf of solar energy to get the key "solar" bills included in if/when Governor Perry calls a special legislative session. These are folks you may have heard mentioned ... such as the Texas Solar Energy Industries Association, the Texas Solar Energy Society .. Environment Texas .. and many others.
      Realize too solar is one of possibly dozens of issues, all of which will have advocates and detractors pushing for, or against inclusion in a special session .. *IF* one is called.
      Will it happen? I don't know. All we can do is wait. If Gov Perry *does* call a special session, we can try again this summer to influence our legislators. If not, it'll be two more years.
      In closing, I'd like to add a comment I feel is indicative of what may be the mindset of at least SOME of our legislators:
      I spoke with an aide in Representative Terri Hodge's office a few days ago, during the waning days of this session. She (the aide) told me Rep Hodges was not in favor of the solar bills.
      I asked "Why?".
      Her aid told me she opposed the solar bills "because it would raise the cost of electricity to residential customers to finance the equipment".
      When I asked the aide if she knew how much it would raise a monthly residential bill, she admitted she didn't know. So I told her - only 20 cents a month. The aide's reaction? "Is that all?". Apparently Rep Hodge was also under the impression the increase would be large, but by then it was too late.
      Representative Hodge had been told it would raise electric bills. Apparently she hadn't been told how little the increase would be. Less than a penny a day.
      I have to believe this is indicative how other legislators' understanding of the situation must be.
      Energy is a complicated issue. One of the staunchest opponents to the solar bills is Representative Sylvester Turner of Houston .
      Why? I don't know.
      In closing .. the solar bills didn't die because they were bad bills. In fact, they passed the Senate on overwhelmingly supportive vote counts. 26 to 4 in one case. 27 to 3 in the other (if memory serves correctly.) They came out of committee with a unanimous vote in one case .. and only one member voting in opposition in the other. The support was there.
      So why did the solar bills (like so MANY other bills) .. fail?
      The solar bills failed to become law because our elected officials reverted to partisan bickering over one bill. "Voter ID." Rather than set the ID issue aside and deal with other legislation .. such as solar .. it became a "prevail at all cost with my point of view" no matter what the cost. Good legislation became the victim in the process.
      I've included three links below to news articles with additional detail on the overall outcome.
      My suggestion: Print them all. Use them for "bathroom" reading material. It's enough to make you sick.

      http://greeninc. blogs.nytimes. com/2009/ 06/01/solar- push-in-texas- fails/
      Same link: http://tinyurl. com/lhdusv

      http://blogs. wsj.com/environm entalcapital/ 2009/06/01/ texas-kills- solar-bill- on-last-minute- motion/
      Same link: http://tinyurl. com/kl8hfr

      http://www.chron. com/disp/ story.mpl/ hotstories/ 6453502.html
      Same link: http://tinyurl. com/maxfk9

      Will keep you posted.


      P.S. If Yahoo messes up any of the long links above, use the "Tiny URL" link I've provided. It's the same link as each of the originals, just shorter.


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