Expect a contentious hearing in Legislative Hall Wednesday on Delaware’s renewable power purchase requirements for electric utilities.
Current law sets up a graduated requirement that will require utilities to buy 25 percent of power from renewable sources. A bill proposed by Rep. Greg Lavelle, R-Sharpley, would freeze the requirements at today’s level – 8.5 percent.
Lavelle said he’s concerned about the price impact on ratepayers and wants to review the requirement in light of new market conditions.
The law helped make possible the Bluewater Wind offshore wind power contract with Delmarva Power, as well as contracts with three rural, land-based wind farms, a solar park in Dover and an agreement with the Sustainable Energy Utility to help support the state’s solar energy industry.
But the Bluewater plan was largely abandoned last year, natural gas prices have dropped, and Delaware power plants have upgraded to pollute less.
“We’ve had some successes with renewables and we’ve had some failures with renewables,” Lavelle said. “I think we need to review these things from time to time. We pass them, we put them on the shelf, and then we don’t look at them.”
Dale Davis, president of the Delaware Solar Energy Coalition, said his members would attend the hearing to defend the requirement.
Democratic Rep. John Kowalko, chairman of the House Energy Committee, said the law helps make more expensive renewable fuels more competitive with cheap, polluting fossil fuels.
“We have to make the first efforts to ensure our planet’s survival for our children,” Kowalko said.
The hearing will be held at 4 p.m. in the second-floor House Majority Hearing Room
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