Federal Update: Letter of Support submitted to US Senators for Sanders legislation encouraging state-wide FITs
While this letter was submitted on Tuesday, November 30th to US Senators, we are still collecting names and updating the list of supporters.
In early October, US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a bill that would remove federal preemption issues around states authority to enact feed-in tariffs (FITs). The bill has 6 original co-sponsors including Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, his fellow Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon. The “Let the States Innovate on Sustainable Energy Act of 2010,” seeks to clarify that states have the right to pursue feed-in tariff programs for clean, renewable energy. In November, the FIT Coalition collected over 125 signatures, including many influential companies, organizations, and energy policy luminaries, for a letter that sought to encourage more US Senators to co-sponsor the bill. You can downlaod a copy of the letter here.
Our goal in December is to add more Senators as co-sponsors to the bill. But the fight for this legislation will not end in 2010. The Sanders bill will be reintroduced in early-2011, and any new Senators added now as co-sponsors will make re-introduction and eventual passage that much easier in 2011.
While this letter was submitted on Tuesday, November 30th to US Senators, we are still collecting names and updating the list of supporters. If you are a business or organizational leader and would like to sign the letter, please email Action@FITCoalition.com with your complete contact info (name, title, company/organization, city, state, zip, email, phone).
Some have questioned the need for this legislation because of the recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruling on state-level FIT pricing that allows avoided cost to be defined against other renewables (see our Oct 29 blog post). However, as expected, this ruling is now being challenged by the utilities. California’s three big Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) filed a petition at FERC on November 22nd for a rehearing/reversal of FERC’s FIT-friendly October ruling. You can download the IOUs petition for a rehearing here. Regardless of the outcome at FERC, moving forward with the Sanders bill is a smart fix to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) that will smooth the pathway for more options for clean energy programs at the state-level.