Alert: S.687 - Renewable Energy

Apologies for any duplicates you may receive--this is being sent 
to several lists.

                       LEGISLATIVE ALERT
              *             from the               *

May 16, 1997


The following article from a recent issue of our newsletter, 
WIND ENERGY WEEKLY, describes S. 687, the "Electric System 
Public Benefits Protection Act of 1997," a bill introduced 
recently in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Jim Jeffords (R-

This bill contains a series of proposals which, if enacted 
into law, will lead to a dramatic increase in the amount of 
electric power that is generated in our country from clean, 
renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Please support this legislation by calling the offices of the
Senators from your state and asking them to cosponsor this
legislation.  Your message can be as simple as this:  "I would
like to ask the Senator to cosponsor S. 687 because I strongly
believe we need to do more in this country to encourage the use
of renewable energy."  You can reach any Senate office through
the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.  Please call
today!  And please--pass this on by e-mail to anyone else you
think might be interested in seeing it. 

If you have any questions, contact Jaime Steve or Sheila 
McNamara of the American Wind Energy Association's 
legislative staff at (202) 383-2500.  Thanks for your help.


	U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords (R-Vt.) introduced legislation 
May 1 to "promote alternative energy and clean air as the 
nation moves to deregulate the electric power sector," 
according to a news release from his office.  A major 
feature of the bill is a Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) 
which would impose a minimum requirement on electricity 
generators for renewable energy supply.

	The Electric System Public Benefits Protection Act of 
1997, as the bill is titled, "builds upon other 
comprehensive electric restructuring proposals and works to 
maintain and increase investments in clean energy and reduce 
reliance on fossil fuels, especially imports," the release 

	Jeffords added, "It's time to trade smokestacks for 
windmills, coal power for solar power, smog for blue skies.  
This legislation allows clean energy to compete on a level 
playing field in a deregulated electric power market."

	Jeffords's version of the RPS is more ambitious than 
previous proposals introduced in Congress by U.S. Rep. Dan 
Schaefer (R-Colo.) (see Wind Energy Weekly #735, February 
17) and Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.) (see Wind Energy Weekly 
#733, February 3).  It calls for a national minimum nonhydro 
renewable energy requirement of 2.5% by the year 2000, 10% 
by the year 2010, and 20% by the year 2020.  Passage of such 
a provision would open a massive market for wind, which is 
one of the most economical renewable energy options.

	The bill also provides for a System Benefits Charge 
(SBC) program on a matching-funds basis, that would be used 
to assist states that impose SBCs to fund renewable energy, 
energy efficiency, and low-income programs.

	The Jeffords bill contains a strict emissions standard 
for electric power plants, mandating that generators sharply 
reduce emissions of pollutants that lead to smog, acid rain, 
mercury contamination, and ground-level ozone.  Older power 
plants would be forced to clean up or shut down.

	In addition, the proposal would require all electric 
companies selling power to retail customers to provide 
detailed information on the source of the power, so that 
consumers can obtain the information they need to choose 
clean energy.

	"This is the next Clean Air Act, Energy Policy Act, and 
electric deregulation in one," Jeffords said.  "We have an 
opportunity to clean our nation's air while saving utility 
customers millions in the cost of electricity."

	AWEA legislative director Jaime Steve praised the 
proposal, commenting, "Jim Jeffords has a record of 
consistent support for clean energy sources that spans the 
last 20 years and is second to none.  Now, once again, he is 
providing strong leadership on behalf of renewables in the 
electric restructuring debate.  We are grateful for his 
support and look forward to working with him on this 

	Detailed provisions of the Electric System Public 
Benefits Protection Act of 1997 were summarized by 
Jeffords's office as follows:

o	National Electric System Benefits Board:  Establishes a 
national fund to assist individual state initiatives.  
Revenue for the fund would be collected through a 
competitively-neutral, non-bypassable per-kilowatt-hour 
(kWh) charge not to exceed two-tenths of a cent, and 
used to assist states that collect funds for renewable 
energy, energy efficiency, affordability, and universal 
access programs.  State participation in the program 
would be voluntary.

o	Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard:  "All generation 
facilities who generate electricity for sale must 
demonstrate that an established percentage of their 
annual sales represents renewable energy sources.  
Those facilities that do not generate energy from 
renewable sources may purchase credits from those that 
do."  The minimum requirement starts at 2.5% in the 
year 2000 and climbs incrementally to 20% in 2020.  The 
provision of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act 
of 1978 (PURPA) that requires utilities to buy power 
from renewable energy plants would be repealed.

o	Emissions Standards: All generators of 15 megawatts 
(MW) or greater nameplate capacity which employ 
combustion would be subject to limits on nitrogen 
oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide emissions.  
This section also includes a trading program and a 
provision to cap emissions of mercury and other 
pollutants in the future.

o	Consumer Information Disclosure: Companies selling 
electricity "must disclose information regarding 
generation source, emissions, and price."