Renewable Energy Is A Local Issue: California, Colorado, Missouri State Ballot Initiatives in Brief

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photo: KQED QUEST-some rights reserved

With a little less than two weeks until the presidential elections (thank god it’s almost over...) it’s worthwhile remembering that it’s not just presidential choices which can influence the future of energy policy in the United States. There are several state ballot initiatives around the country which are coming up for public approval. Even if these don’t apply directly to your state, check them out if only to see what other states are considering implementing.

Thanks to the New York Times for pointing them out, but here’s a bit more detail on measures in California, Colorado and Missouri from the state voting guides:California Proposition 7: Increase in Renewable Portfolio Standards, More
Officially known as the ‘Renewable Energy Generation Initiative Statute’ if approved this ballot initiative,

Requires utilities, including government-owned utilities, to generate 20% of their power from renewable energy by 2010, a standard currently applicable only to private electrical corporations.

Raises requirement for utilities to 40% by 2020 and 50% by 2025.

Imposes penalties, subject to waiver, for noncompliance.

Transfers some jurisdiction of regulatory matters from Public Utilities Commission to Energy Commission.

Fast-tracks approval for new renewable energy plants.

Requires utilities to sign longer contracts (20 year minimum) to procure renewable energy.

Creates account to purchase rights-of-way and facilities for the transmission of renewable energy.

It should be noted that many environmental groups actually oppose Proposition 7 on the grounds that the actual wording of the bill will force small renewable energy producers out of the market, lead to increases in electricity costs, and basically slow the growth of renewables in California. More on the opposition to Prop 7.

California Proposition 10: Funding to Help Purchase Greener Vehicles, More
Under Proposition 10, the ‘Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bond Initiative Statute’ , the following items are up for approval:

Provides $3.425 billion to help consumers and others purchase certain high fuel economy or alternative fuel vehicles, including natural gas vehicles, and to fund research into alternative fuel technology.

Provides $1.25 billion for research, development and production of renewable energy technology, primarily solar energy with additional funding for other forms of renewable energy; incentives for purchasing solar and renewable energy technology.

Provides grants to cities for renewable energy projects and to colleges for training in renewable and energy efficiency technologies.

Total funding provided is $5 billion from general obligation bonds.

Colorado Amendment 58: Fossil Fuel Industry Severance Tax Increases
This amendment to Colorado state statutes would: Increase the amount of severance taxes paid by oil and natural gas companies and put this money towards college scholarships for state residents, renewable energy projects, transportation projects, water treatment grants, and wildlife habitat.

The severance tax is:

paid by companies that extract nonrenewable resources from the earth, including oil and gas, gold, coal, and molybdenum. Over the last five years, 92 percent of state severance tax collections have come for oil and gas, and nearly all of that from gas. Last year, the state collected $140 million in oil and gas severance taxes.

More of how the increased taxes would be distributed: Colorado 2008 State Ballot Information Booklet (page 31 of PDF).

Missouri Proposition C: Renewable Energy Requirement for Utilities
Otherwise known by the long title Amendment to Chapter 393 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, Relating to Renewable Energy, version 4, 2008-031, if approved Proposition C would,

...amend Missouri law to require investor-owned electric utilities to generate or purchase electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass (including ethanol) and hydropower.

The required renewable energy sources must equal the following percentages of retail sales:
• 2% by 2011

• 5% by 2014

• 10% by 2018

• 15% by 2021

Of the total renewable energy sources required to be sold, at least 2% shall be solar sources.  Also, any rate increase to consumers resulting from this measure must be no more than 1%.

via: The New York Times
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