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

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  • bburke@alum.dartmouth.org
    Hello all - I have been a member of HREG for a few months now and have not been moved to email until now. We are all disappointed with the lack of support the
    Message 1 of 24 , Jun 2, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Hello all -

      I have been a member of HREG for a few months now and have not been moved to email until now.

      We are all disappointed with the lack of support the Texas legislature showed for solar as the session closed. Dan's previous discourse on the legislative details summed up the issues well. The main issue that killed solar this time was not the lack of enthusiasm, since both the Texas House and Senate committees passed all the bills handily, but the stalemate the bogs many state legislatures and the Federal one down.

      ASES and TREIA and individual companies were, no doubt, lobbying in Austin for these bills, as well so many other interests for solar and otherwise. We need to pick ourselves up and start lobbying and writing to anticipate a potential special session and even to antipicate 2011. We, as constituents, can visit personally with our Texas legislative representatives and senators to tell them how we feel about solar, what it means to the Texas economy, and what it means to environmental interests. Politicians do what they feel gets them re-elected: we need to recast the argument for solar in dollar terms, not in the abstract accounting of moral values.

      We all have lobbyings lobbying on our behalf, whether we know it or not, both at the state and Federal level, on all kinds of issues.

      Go personally lobby your state representatives. Lobby those who will likely run, or are running, for governor. Small wind and solar interests don't have much money, but the face-to-face representation in Austin, along with phone calls and handwritten letters, are hugely important.

      As the Chronicle pointed out, HB 1937 passed as did other measures that implement hybrid and alt fuel fleet standards for the state and provide weatherization assistance (http://blogs.chron.com/newswatchenergy/archives/2009/06/lights_go_out_o.html).

      Let's stay positive and focus on what we can do, individually and collectively, rather than moan about what could have been. That's in the past now.

      Ben Burke, PhD
      The Woodlands, TX
      bburke@...


      --- You wrote:
      Maybe not bitter, but misinformed. As a founding member of TREIA, I cannot
      think of a more supportive organization, and I have been a member for 25
      years. Never mind that it was the legislators that stonewalled and killed
      the legislation, let's blame one of the few consistent voices for solar. We
      would not have the success we have had in TX if not for TREIA.



      So tell us, Steve, what did you personally do to promote the legislation,
      and why wasn't such an enlightened person like yourself able to accomplish
      more during this session, since we are obviously lacking solar leadership?



      What milestones did you set as goals, and what were you able to achieve?



      Please enlighten us with something other than cynicism and negativity.



      Thanks, Kevin



      Kevin Conlin

      13534 Quetzal Lane

      Houston, TX 77083

      281-530-7501 home

      281-530-7501 fax

      1-281-202-9629 cell

      kevin@...



      _____

      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@...>
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 9:35:02 AM
      Subject: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature



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

      From: Bill or Dorothy Swann <mailto:dbswann4@...>

      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com <mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com>

      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

      <mailto:hreg-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com?subject=>

      .



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

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

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

      Will keep you posted.

      Dan

      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.







      --- end of quote ---
    • Kevin Conlin
      Good post! Thank you very much, Ben. Kevin Conlin 13534 Quetzal Lane Houston, TX 77083 281-530-7501 home 281-530-7501 fax 1-281-202-9629 cell
      Message 2 of 24 , Jun 2, 2009
      • 0 Attachment

        Good post!  Thank you very much, Ben.

         

        Kevin Conlin

        13534 Quetzal Lane

        Houston, TX 77083

        281-530-7501 home

        281-530-7501 fax

        1-281-202-9629 cell

        kevin@...

         


        From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of bburke@...
        Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 9:06 PM
        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature

         




        Hello all -

        I have been a member of HREG for a few months now and have not been moved to email until now.

        We are all disappointed with the lack of support the Texas legislature showed for solar as the session closed. Dan's previous discourse on the legislative details summed up the issues well. The main issue that killed solar this time was not the lack of enthusiasm, since both the Texas House and Senate committees passed all the bills handily, but the stalemate the bogs many state legislatures and the Federal one down.

        ASES and TREIA and individual companies were, no doubt, lobbying in Austin for these bills, as well so many other interests for solar and otherwise. We need to pick ourselves up and start lobbying and writing to anticipate a potential special session and even to antipicate 2011. We, as constituents, can visit personally with our Texas legislative representatives and senators to tell them how we feel about solar, what it means to the Texas economy, and what it means to environmental interests. Politicians do what they feel gets them re-elected: we need to recast the argument for solar in dollar terms, not in the abstract accounting of moral values.

        We all have lobbyings lobbying on our behalf, whether we know it or not, both at the state and Federal level, on all kinds of issues.

        Go personally lobby your state representatives. Lobby those who will likely run, or are running, for governor. Small wind and solar interests don't have much money, but the face-to-face representation in Austin , along with phone calls and handwritten letters, are hugely important.

        As the Chronicle pointed out, HB 1937 passed as did other measures that implement hybrid and alt fuel fleet standards for the state and provide weatherization assistance (http://blogs. chron.com/ newswatchenergy/ archives/ 2009/06/lights_ go_out_o. html).

        Let's stay positive and focus on what we can do, individually and collectively, rather than moan about what could have been. That's in the past now.

        Ben Burke, PhD
        The Woodlands, TX
        bburke@alum. dartmouth. org

        --- You wrote:
        Maybe not bitter, but misinformed. As a founding member of TREIA, I cannot
        think of a more supportive organization, and I have been a member for 25
        years. Never mind that it was the legislators that stonewalled and killed
        the legislation, let's blame one of the few consistent voices for solar. We
        would not have the success we have had in TX if not for TREIA.

        So tell us, Steve, what did you personally do to promote the legislation,
        and why wasn't such an enlightened person like yourself able to accomplish
        more during this session, since we are obviously lacking solar leadership?

        What milestones did you set as goals, and what were you able to achieve?

        Please enlighten us with something other than cynicism and negativity.

        Thanks, Kevin

        Kevin Conlin

        13534 Quetzal Lane

        Houston , TX 77083

        281-530-7501 home

        281-530-7501 fax

        1-281-202-9629 cell

        kevin@heliosolardes ign.com

        _____

        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 -----

        From: Bill or Dorothy Swann <mailto:dbswann4@yahoo. com>

        To: hreg@yahoogroups. com <mailto:hreg@yahoogroups. com>

        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

        <mailto:hreg-unsubscribe@ yahoogroups. com?subject=>

        .

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

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

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

        Will keep you posted.

        Dan

        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.

        --- end of quote ---

      • Andrew McCalla
        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,
        Message 3 of 24 , Jun 3, 2009
        • 0 Attachment

          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
          CEO


          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@...
          www.meridiansolar.com



           

          DISCLAIMER:
          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.

           

          Tyra

           


          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.

          Dan

          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.


           

        • Tyra Rankin
          Andrew: 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
          Message 4 of 24 , Jun 3, 2009
          • 0 Attachment

            Andrew:

             

            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.   

             

            Tyra

             

             


            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
            CEO


            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




             

            DISCLAIMER:
            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.

             

            Tyra

             


            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.

            Dan

            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.



             

          • Anne Kelly
            Great letter, Tyra.  Please forward it to our governer and the legislators! ... From: Tyra Rankin Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation
            Message 5 of 24 , 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

              Andrew:

               

              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.   

               

              Tyra

               

               


              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
              CEO


              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




               

              DISCLAIMER:
              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.

               

              Tyra

               


              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.

              Dan

              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.



               


            • Philip Timmons
              Hey Tyra, Ok, I count that as some pretty legit backgrounding. Technical / Policy Question? What did you find regarding Solar Thermal (Electric Generation --
              Message 6 of 24 , Jun 3, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                Hey Tyra,

                Ok, I count that as some pretty legit backgrounding.

                Technical / Policy Question?

                What did you find regarding Solar Thermal (Electric Generation -- like this >>> www.ausra.com and others) and its use in Spain, and other sites, including the US, but relative absence in Texas?

                Is that mostly considered a Policy issue?  Corporate Politics?  Less Than Optimal Geography/Insolation?  Something else?

                Thanks.




                --- On Wed, 6/3/09, Anne Kelly <anniemktx@...> wrote:

                From: Anne Kelly <anniemktx@...>
                Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature
                To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 9:43 AM

                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

                Andrew:

                 

                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.   

                 

                Tyra

                 

                 



              • Jim & Janet
                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
                Message 7 of 24 , Jun 3, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  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. 
                   
                   
                  While a lot of belated insight has been presented on this site since the end of the regular session, it fails to address the true underlying reason that the renewable legislative package that was so carefully crafted, and compromised on, failed. It could be blamed on the voter ID skirmish or any number of other distractions that occurred during the 2009 session, as well as the 2007 and the 2005 sessions.
                  During the 2007 session, one where I and dozens of other TREIA members and renewable energy advocates and supporters, had converged on the State Capitol, spent days visiting legislators and their staff, at the Capitol and in less formal settings, began optimistically promoting the final version of what seemed like a well balanced and compromised package of pro-renewable energy legislation.
                  After I returned to Fort Worth and my usual routine, I was contacted by a senior reporter from the Fort Worth Star Telegram and asked my professional perspective on some issue or another involving renewable energy. After answering the reporters question to his satisfaction, I mentioned the just completed "blitz" by TREIA and its legions of RE supporters at the Capitol. [I can use spin as well as the next guy.]
                  I mentioned that I was frustrated and alarmed by the news article I had seen in the ST weeks before stating that TXU had in the neighborhood of 60 paid lobbyists at the Capitol that session. [Recall that this was the same timeframe during which TXU was pushing for the approval of the licensing of 11 new coal-burning power plants in Texas. Recall too that the Governor fully supported fast-tracking the bill to approve them before new EPA restrictions kicked in.]
                  The reporter said, and I paraphrase; Jim TXU has currently got over 120 registered lobbyists at the Capitol.
                  It suddenly became clear why, during that same TREIA blitz when someone asked if RPS legislation was included in the package of bills we were supporting and promoting, we were told that, again paraphrasing, the issue of the RPS should not even be mentioned during the legislative session because it would never see the light of day.
                  The lobbying industry clearly understands the philosophy behind the bumper sticker that says "America doesn't need a third party-America needs a second party".
                  There is a "3rd branch" of the legislature, the special interest lobby, which is so powerful, so well organized and well funded that their demands on legislators are almost without fail, supported over the wishes of their constituents. These well paid representatives of special interests will attempt to obstruct a bill from receiving support to carry it and discourage co-signers. Should that fail and a bill come about as proposed, a contingency plan would be in place. Committees would be influenced in advance to keep certain legislative subsets out of bills that otherwise would be approved.
                  If that failed to stop a measure from moving ahead, severe steps may have to be implemented. And you can bet those Plan Bs and Plan Cs are in place long before the opening gavel drops.
                  Voter ID was a perfect example of this strategy. Opponents used chubbing to delay passage of the bill while supporters blocked the option to reschedule votes on other bills that would otherwise die in the standoff. While this game of chicken was purely along political party lines, Legislators had no qualms about refusing to compromise and committing devastating acts of near treason to gain their political ends.
                  Now\, think back several weeks to the scandal in the British Parliament where it was discovered that members were abusing their financial privileges. That nation was outraged. Thousands protested in front of their local Parliament buildings and confronted members at their homes and offices demanding their resignation. It worked.
                  Years ago, French farmers drove their tractors and blocked major roads in downtown Paris to protest government actions against farmers. Loads of manure were dumped on the capitol steps to show their disgust. The farmers got what they wanted.
                  What happens in the US when citizens are outraged at politicians? We read all the blogs and emails we agree with then go back to stare at the television to be informed what the official facts are. And by the 2011 legislative session, all but a handful of activists will have forgotten about their disdain generated during this session and the cycle will be repeated.
                  Your Legislator lives, and maintains an office, in your local district. Is it too much trouble to walk into that office and tell the Legislator or their staff lackeys exactly how disgusted you are with their behavior? Can you announce angrily that you regret voting for them (even if you didn't) because of their support of corrupted legislative policies? Can you demand that they push for a special session to address the important bills of which they deliberately blocked passage?
                  You could but why bother. TREIA, Union of Concerned Scientists, SEED Coalition, Public Citizen, ACEEE and all those other big non-profit groups will take care of it. After all you sent them a contribution last year, what else do they expect you to do. Or, I wrote a letter to my legislator or I signed an online petition in support of something once. If you think that simply voting will change things, go back and read the bumper sticker.
                  Get mad, stay mad, organize, protest, confront the businesses that hire the lobbyists and publically expose and boycott them. Publically oppose politicians who worked against the best interest of the public good which is most all of them. Demand that local politicians support renewable energy (are you listening Southlake?) Get "important" people angry with you, that's the only way to make them remember and respect you. Smitty excels at this tactic.
                  Join two or three of the above named organizations and go to their meetings and events. When you look at how long and hard they work promoting the public good, you will be amazed and hopefully motivated to join in their largely unrecognized effort.
                  Change won't happen until tens of thousands of Americans get mad enough to make it happen. Our elected public servants won't do it for us unless they are pressured to do it.
                  Jim Duncan
                   
                  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. 
                   
                   
                   
                   


                  Andrew:

                  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.   

                  Tyra


                  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
                  CEO


                  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




                  DISCLAIMER:
                  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.

                  Tyra


                  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.

                  Dan

                  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.



                • Andrew McCalla
                  Tyra, You touched on a lot of points there, and while I don t consider them all accurate, I do recognize them as thoughtful. Since TREIA was my very first step
                  Message 8 of 24 , Jun 3, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment

                    Tyra,

                     

                    You touched on a lot of points there, and while I don’t consider them all accurate, I do recognize them as thoughtful.

                     

                    Since TREIA was my very first step in entering this industry 15 years ago, and as Chair of the TREIA Membership Committee, I don’t consider them exclusive of new people.

                     

                    Having seen impressively flexible maneuvering and positioning in this most recent legislative melee, I don’t see TREIA as exclusive of new ideas.  To the contrary, it is willing to embrace them and roll with them on the fly.

                    And as far as studies go, I’m not sure which ones they have shunned, but would be interested to see them and get your insight as to how they can serve as relevant catalysts for TREIA, and the legislature to formulate a cohesive, long term policy for solar.

                    I, among others, felt like we had a pretty good shot at some significant legislation this time around.  But for the efforts of one man, it seemed like it was going to happen.

                    Maybe next session we can get him on board, but its going to take a lot more than TREIA……..it’s going to take Texans, a lot of them, including you.

                    Andrew

                     

                    PS:  Please show me where TREIA published the statement “ Texas is number one in the country in wind and number two in solar.” 

                     

                     

                    Andrew H. McCalla
                    CEO


                    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@...
                    www.meridiansolar.com



                     

                    DISCLAIMER:
                    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: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:21 AM
                    To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature

                     




                    Andrew:

                     

                    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.   

                     

                    Tyra

                     

                     


                    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
                    CEO


                    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





                     

                    DISCLAIMER:
                    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.

                     

                    Tyra

                     


                    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:

                  • Kevin Conlin
                    Tyra, You make very good points, and I m sorry your experience with TREIA was so negative. As you know, I am supportive of the organization, but I m also very
                    Message 9 of 24 , Jun 3, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment

                      Tyra, You make very good points, and I’m sorry your experience with TREIA was so negative. As you know, I am supportive of the organization, but I’m also very frustrated on the lack of progress, and as a TREIA member, I am very open to new ideas and approaches.

                       

                      Perhaps this isn’t the best forum, but I would like to know more about your approach and ideas. I am a former TREIA officer, board member and committee chair, and if we need to rethink our approach for the next legislature, we need to start now, while we’re still smarting from defeat.

                       

                      If you have a moment, would you contact me offline?

                       

                      Thanks,  Kevin

                       

                      Kevin Conlin

                      13534 Quetzal Lane

                      Houston, TX 77083

                      281-530-7501 home

                      281-530-7501 fax

                      1-281-202-9629 cell

                      kevin@...

                       


                      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Tyra Rankin
                      Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:21 AM
                      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature

                       




                      Andrew:

                       

                      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.   

                       

                      Tyra

                       

                       


                      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
                      CEO


                      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





                       

                      DISCLAIMER:
                      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.

                       

                      Tyra

                       


                      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.

                      Dan

                      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.




                       

                    • Tyra Rankin
                      Andrew: TREIA was my first foray into renewable energy several years back as well. I credit them with helpful education and some wonderful associations. You
                      Message 10 of 24 , Jun 3, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment

                        Andrew:

                         

                        TREIA was my first foray into renewable energy several years back as well.  I credit them with helpful education and some wonderful associations.  You and I will have to visit sometime and perhaps I can better describe my experience with the organization around solar policy. 

                         

                        Here is the Governor’s misstatement about solar that was printed in the June, 2008 TREIA newsletter.  It appears on page 5.  I sent a message to Scott asking that he include a rebuttal to the Governor, as I had personally heard the Governor make the same misstatement earlier in Houston at a press conference with the Houston Technology Center .

                         

                        The governor also called for increased study in �alternative energy sources,‖ noting that �Texas

                        has ranked number one in the nation for wind power generation for the last couple years, and is first in

                        biofuels and second in solar power.

                         

                        Tyra


                        From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Andrew McCalla
                        Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 3:15 PM
                        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature

                         




                        Tyra,

                         

                        You touched on a lot of points there, and while I don’t consider them all accurate, I do recognize them as thoughtful.

                         

                        Since TREIA was my very first step in entering this industry 15 years ago, and as Chair of the TREIA Membership Committee, I don’t consider them exclusive of new people.

                         

                        Having seen impressively flexible maneuvering and positioning in this most recent legislative melee, I don’t see TREIA as exclusive of new ideas.  To the contrary, it is willing to embrace them and roll with them on the fly.

                        And as far as studies go, I’m not sure which ones they have shunned, but would be interested to see them and get your insight as to how they can serve as relevant catalysts for TREIA, and the legislature to formulate a cohesive, long term policy for solar.

                        I, among others, felt like we had a pretty good shot at some significant legislation this time around.  But for the efforts of one man, it seemed like it was going to happen.

                        Maybe next session we can get him on board, but its going to take a lot more than TREIA……..it’s going to take Texans, a lot of them, including you.

                        Andrew

                         

                        PS:  Please show me where TREIA published the statement “ Texas is number one in the country in wind and number two in solar.” 

                         

                         

                        Andrew H. McCalla
                        CEO


                        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




                         

                        DISCLAIMER:
                        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: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:21 AM
                        To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                        Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature

                         





                        Andrew:

                         

                        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.   

                         

                        Tyra

                         

                         


                        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
                        CEO


                        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






                         

                        DISCLAIMER:
                        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.

                         

                        Tyra

                         


                        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.

                        Dan

                        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.





                         

                      • Tyra Rankin
                        Hello Phillip. I think it is all the issues you touch on, but a large percentage of it is policy driven. CSP would work great in the general West Texas
                        Message 11 of 24 , Jun 3, 2009
                        • 0 Attachment

                          Hello Phillip.  I think it is all the issues you touch on, but a large percentage of it is policy driven.  CSP would work great in the general West Texas climate.  There is a group in Texas right now trying to put in a utility scale, roughly $600M concentrated solar thermal plant in West Texas .  My understanding is they have not been successful in obtaining financing.  While financing is not easy to come by for most right now, the lack of solar policy in Texas hurts their ability.  Arizona , Nevada , California , perhaps New Mexico have lots of CSP install and construction.  All have supportive policies.

                           

                          In April/May I helped host scientists from Ben-Gurion University in Israel who have an exciting combined PV and concentrated thermal design.  It reduces costs by using a small PV plate and amplifies production with the concentrator.  This technology would be excellent for West Texas .  David Faiman showed a map of the best insolation in the state for the technology.

                           

                          Iran has 2 CSP plants in operation; I saw one when I was there in April.  They have fantastic desert climate and insolation over 80% of the country.

                           

                          Tyra

                           


                          From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Philip Timmons
                          Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 1:23 PM
                          To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature

                           




                          Hey Tyra,

                          Ok, I count that as some pretty legit backgrounding.

                          Technical / Policy Question?

                          What did you find regarding Solar Thermal (Electric Generation -- like this

                          >>> www.ausra.com and others) and its use in
                          w:st="on">Spain , and other sites, including the US , but relative absence in Texas ?

                          Is that mostly considered a Policy issue?  Corporate Politics?  Less Than Optimal Geography/Insolatio n?  Something else?

                          Thanks.




                          --- On Wed, 6/3/09, Anne Kelly <anniemktx@yahoo. com> wrote:


                          From: Anne Kelly <anniemktx@yahoo. com>
                          Subject: RE: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature
                          To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                          Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 9:43 AM

                          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

                          Andrew:

                           

                          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.   

                           

                          Tyra

                           

                           

                           

                        • Lourdes Aguinaco
                          I heard on the radio that Gov. Rick Perry has stated he will open up a special session.   Is there a way we can send a note or something to the Gov. to
                          Message 12 of 24 , Jun 4, 2009
                          • 0 Attachment
                            I heard on the radio that Gov. Rick Perry has stated he will open up a special session.

                             

                            Is there a way we can send a note or something to the Gov. to request that the solar legislation be added to the session?  Is there already a petition or something that we can sign up for?

                             



                            Lourdes Aguinaco
                            Director of Community Relations
                            Akari Energy
                            510 Bering Drive, Ste. 300
                            Houston, TX 77057
                            Phone: (713) 869-4656
                            Fax: (713) 869-2656
                            Toll-Free: (866) 972-2656
                            www.AkariEnergy.com

                            --- On Wed, 6/3/09, Jim & Janet <jhd1@...> wrote:

                            From: Jim & Janet <jhd1@...>
                            Subject: [hreg] Solar energy legislation in the Texas legislature
                            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                            Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 3:04 PM

                            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. 
                             
                             
                            While a lot of belated insight has been presented on this site since the end of the regular session, it fails to address the true underlying reason that the renewable legislative package that was so carefully crafted, and compromised on, failed. It could be blamed on the voter ID skirmish or any number of other distractions that occurred during the 2009 session, as well as the 2007 and the 2005 sessions.
                            During the 2007 session, one where I and dozens of other TREIA members and renewable energy advocates and supporters, had converged on the State Capitol, spent days visiting legislators and their staff, at the Capitol and in less formal settings, began optimistically promoting the final version of what seemed like a well balanced and compromised package of pro-renewable energy legislation.
                            After I returned to Fort Worth and my usual routine, I was contacted by a senior reporter from the Fort Worth Star Telegram and asked my professional perspective on some issue or another involving renewable energy. After answering the reporters question to his satisfaction, I mentioned the just completed "blitz" by TREIA and its legions of RE supporters at the Capitol. [I can use spin as well as the next guy.]
                            I mentioned that I was frustrated and alarmed by the news article I had seen in the ST weeks before stating that TXU had in the neighborhood of 60 paid lobbyists at the Capitol that session. [Recall that this was the same timeframe during which TXU was pushing for the approval of the licensing of 11 new coal-burning power plants in Texas. Recall too that the Governor fully supported fast-tracking the bill to approve them before new EPA restrictions kicked in.]
                            The reporter said, and I paraphrase; Jim TXU has currently got over 120 registered lobbyists at the Capitol.
                            It suddenly became clear why, during that same TREIA blitz when someone asked if RPS legislation was included in the package of bills we were supporting and promoting, we were told that, again paraphrasing, the issue of the RPS should not even be mentioned during the legislative session because it would never see the light of day.
                            The lobbying industry clearly understands the philosophy behind the bumper sticker that says "America doesn't need a third party-America needs a second party".
                            There is a "3rd branch" of the legislature, the special interest lobby, which is so powerful, so well organized and well funded that their demands on legislators are almost without fail, supported over the wishes of their constituents. These well paid representatives of special interests will attempt to obstruct a bill from receiving support to carry it and discourage co-signers. Should that fail and a bill come about as proposed, a contingency plan would be in place. Committees would be influenced in advance to keep certain legislative subsets out of bills that otherwise would be approved.
                            If that failed to stop a measure from moving ahead, severe steps may have to be implemented. And you can bet those Plan Bs and Plan Cs are in place long before the opening gavel drops.
                            Voter ID was a perfect example of this strategy. Opponents used chubbing to delay passage of the bill while supporters blocked the option to reschedule votes on other bills that would otherwise die in the standoff. While this game of chicken was purely along political party lines, Legislators had no qualms about refusing to compromise and committing devastating acts of near treason to gain their political ends.
                            Now\, think back several weeks to the scandal in the British Parliament where it was discovered that members were abusing their financial privileges. That nation was outraged. Thousands protested in front of their local Parliament buildings and confronted members at their homes and offices demanding their resignation. It worked.
                            Years ago, French farmers drove their tractors and blocked major roads in downtown Paris to protest government actions against farmers. Loads of manure were dumped on the capitol steps to show their disgust. The farmers got what they wanted.
                            What happens in the US when citizens are outraged at politicians? We read all the blogs and emails we agree with then go back to stare at the television to be informed what the official facts are. And by the 2011 legislative session, all but a handful of activists will have forgotten about their disdain generated during this session and the cycle will be repeated.
                            Your Legislator lives, and maintains an office, in your local district. Is it too much trouble to walk into that office and tell the Legislator or their staff lackeys exactly how disgusted you are with their behavior? Can you announce angrily that you regret voting for them (even if you didn't) because of their support of corrupted legislative policies? Can you demand that they push for a special session to address the important bills of which they deliberately blocked passage?
                            You could but why bother. TREIA, Union of Concerned Scientists, SEED Coalition, Public Citizen, ACEEE and all those other big non-profit groups will take care of it. After all you sent them a contribution last year, what else do they expect you to do. Or, I wrote a letter to my legislator or I signed an online petition in support of something once. If you think that simply voting will change things, go back and read the bumper sticker.
                            Get mad, stay mad, organize, protest, confront the businesses that hire the lobbyists and publically expose and boycott them. Publically oppose politicians who worked against the best interest of the public good which is most all of them. Demand that local politicians support renewable energy (are you listening Southlake?) Get "important" people angry with you, that's the only way to make them remember and respect you. Smitty excels at this tactic.
                            Join two or three of the above named organizations and go to their meetings and events. When you look at how long and hard they work promoting the public good, you will be amazed and hopefully motivated to join in their largely unrecognized effort.
                            Change won't happen until tens of thousands of Americans get mad enough to make it happen. Our elected public servants won't do it for us unless they are pressured to do it.
                            Jim Duncan
                             
                            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. 
                             
                             
                             
                             


                            Andrew:

                            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.   

                            Tyra


                            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
                            CEO


                            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




                            DISCLAIMER:
                            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.

                            Tyra


                            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.

                            Dan

                            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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