A Win-Win Energy Law in Illinois

by Daniel Farber | January 11, 2017

It went pretty much unheralded by the national media, but in December, Illinois adopted a major new energy law – and with strong bipartisan support. Each side had some things to celebrate.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner touted the impact of the law on utility bills. According to the governor, the law "contains a guaranteed cap that energy prices cannot increase more than 25 cents on the average residential home, and cannot increase more than 1.3 percent on commercial and industrial users over the next ten years. Rates are projected to decrease for the first several years due to the utilities being able to amortize energy efficiency." The governor also expressed satisfaction that the bill would allow two nuclear plants to stay open by crediting them for their zero carbon emissions.

Environmentalists also saw much to celebrate. According to the Sierra Club, the new law will "open the door for more clean energy development across the state, create tens of thousands of jobs, and provide Illinois with a strong path forward in moving beyond dirty and expensive fossil fuels." The Environmental Defense Fund went into more detail about the law. The law will require the state's largest utilities to "significantly reduce their energy use by 2030." It also "improves Illinois's Renewable Portfolio Standard," directly leading to the development of – at a minimum – 3,000 MW of solar and 1,300 MW of wind power, or ...

Florida's Constitutional Amendment 1 Is Anti-Solar Energy

by Joel Mintz | November 08, 2016
Today, Florida residents are voting on a number of items including Constitutional Amendment 1, misleadingly titled "Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice." Although it gives the appearance of promoting solar energy, Amendment 1 is actually a deceptively worded attempt by big, investor-owned utility companies (including FPL and Duke Energy), masquerading under the banner of "Consumers for Smart Solar," to suppress the growth of solar energy in the Sunshine State and maintain the utilities' current monopoly in the state's ...

Maryland's Environmental and Energy Policy Moving Backward under the Hogan Administration

by Jeremy Baker | September 29, 2016
Larry Hogan promised to be the "best environmental governor that's ever served" in Maryland. But three recent policy developments call that claim into question.  Earlier this year, the Hogan administration vetoed the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which would have raised Maryland's renewable energy portfolio standard – the share of electricity that energy providers must derive from renewable sources – from 20 percent by 2022 to 25 percent by 2020. A stronger commitment to renewable energy could have had a tremendous ...

The Reliability of the Sun and the Wind

by Lesley McAllister | April 17, 2013
The following is reposted from the Environmental Law Prof Blog. The electric utility industry often complains that renewable energy proponents don’t pay enough attention to the intermittency of renewable resources.  A common refrain is “the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.”  The industry then reminds us that, for a reliable electricity grid, supply and demand must be in balance at all times. The implication is that this will be impossible if we rely heavily on renewable energy. A new report published by the ...
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