Fraser's Renewable Energy Legislation Passes Texas Senate
AUSTIN - Legislation authored by Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) that will increase energy produced by renewable resources in Texas passed the Texas Senate on Friday. Senate Bill 533 will expand the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and is headed to the House of Representatives for its approval.
"More jobs, less air pollution, more tax revenue for our schools and a hedge against fossil fuels is what this bill is about," said Fraser on Friday. "These are real benefits that will be realized as a result of this legislation."
The Renewable Portfolio requires the State of Texas to install a specific amount of generating capacity by 2015 from renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar energy. The RPS allows a combination of federal and state incentives for the development of renewable energy to private companies. Fraser's legislation would increase the cumulative installed renewable capacity in Texas by 5,000 MW by 2015. It calls for an upgrade of 10,000 MW by 2025, which would represent 10 percent of the state's energy needs.
In 1999 former Governor George W. Bush signed a law co-sponsored by Senator Fraser that has been recognized as model legislation in electric deregulation. An amendment offered by Fraser and adopted to that legislation required electric utilities to purchase roughly 3 percent of their energy resources from renewable sources by the year 2009. Because the objective was met twice as fast as expected, Senate Bill 533 will increase the goal and time table to accommodate the higher than expected expansion.
The legislation would also direct the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to identify competitive renewable zones that would be used to facilitate the construction of transmission infrastructure and promote the development other renewable energy resources.
Senate Bill 533 stems from recommendations compiled by the Texas Energy Planning Council that was created by Governor Rick Perry in 2003 to develop a plan that will fuel Texas' future economic growth and prosperity. The council is made up of 22 members who represent a diversified interest in Texas energy sector.
"I commend Senator Fraser on his efforts with this legislation and I appreciate the fact that he acted on the Texas Energy Planning Council's recommendations." said Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Victor Carrillo. "The Council worked very hard to come up with a balanced plan that would be best for our state's current and future energy needs."