Renewable Energy Standards Under Attack

Organizations sympathetic to the fossil fuel industry, particularly the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have launched a nationwide campaign in state legislatures to reverse years of progress in establishing Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in states. A great article from inside climate news provides an overview of the attack and a tally of states where RPS are threatened.

ALEC has said they are opposed to RPS because they don’t think government should pick winners and losers. This is a line which makes no sense when you consider the huge tax breaks and incentives already enjoyed by the highly profitable fossil fuel industry.

Louisiana currently has a Renewable Energy Pilot Program that is showing some success in encouraging investment in small scale renewable options. We will have to wait until we get more experience with it in Louisiana and clean energy advocates will have to watch for attempts to kill our own program in its infancy.

Currently there are ALEC backed legislative efforts in twelve states to weaken or reduce RPS. But on a positive note one such effort was recently defeated in Kansas, one of the most conservative states and home of the Koch brothers. And almost the same number of states have pro RPS bills. There seems to be a positive trend among states. States are winning against the corporate attempts to kill RPS and some are strengthening renewable energy initiatives.

Louisiana has a way to go on the road to clean energy. Our Renewable Energy Pilot Program has to prove itself and the Louisiana Public Service Commission recently reversed itself to vacate the state’s new energy efficiency rules. But if clean energy can win a battle in Kansas we can win some here too in Louisiana.

Woody Martin

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