Governor’s Weekly Message

by Dave on August 20, 2010

Governor Markell is joined in his weekly message by Department of Natural Resources Secretary Collin O’Mara to talk about bringing clean energy jobs in Delaware, in light of four bipartisan bills the Governor signed this summer.

The renewable energy laws together make up the Clean Energy Jobs package, designed to put more people to work in expanding industries such as wind and solar power. The laws put protections in place for ratepayers while also protecting the environment by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and improving air quality.

“The laws are good for the environment, good for our economy, and great for Delaware’s reputation as a cradle of innovation,” Markell said. “Future generations – our grandchildren, great-children, and so on – will really see long-term results from moving to more sustainable, less polluting sources of power.”

“The more we depend on clean energy, the less we depend on fossil fuels like coal –and the less we pollute,” explained Secretary O’Mara. “We are almost totally dependent on fossil fuels right now. These new laws put us on track to have 25% of our energy supplies come from renewable sources by 20-25.”

The clean energy laws will create of hundreds of secure, quality jobs and promote other sources of renewable energy, like offshore wind infrastructure or a large wind park off the coast of Delaware.

Delaware’s clean energy jobs laws include:

SB 1 for SB 119 sponsored by Sen. Harris McDowell and Reps. Dennis E. Williams and John Kowalko which extends and expands Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) so that 25 percent of Delaware’s electricity must come from renewable energy sources by the year 2025; includes solar energy targets; and provides incentives for local labor and manufacture of renewable energy systems. For the first time, the Delaware Electric Cooperative and municipal electric companies will be included in the standard through the new statute or through their own plan meeting comparable results. This is significant since these entities provide about a third of Delaware’s electricity. The act also provides consumer protections by limiting any rate impacts.

SB 266 sponsored by Sen. Harris McDowell and Rep. Gerald Brady which updates the Green Energy Fund law to address the large backlog of projects across the state currently awaiting incentive funds. Gives the DNREC secretary the ability to direct more of the Green Energy fund to clear the existing backlog and focuses on incentives that will maximize economic development benefits. It allows for a gradual transition from the over-reliance on the fund for financing renewable energy systems and balances the program’s resources with current and expected demands.

SB 267 sponsored by Sens. Harris McDowell and F. Gary Simpson and Reps. Dennis E. Williams and Michael Mulrooney which strengthens Delaware’s net metering law by increasing the amount of energy customers can sell back to their electric supply grid. Homes and businesses may sell back 110 percent of their aggregate consumption to the grid. Customers, such as a business campus or agricultural operations can aggregate several meters for multiple locations to determine how much power can be sold back through one meter. In this way, customers will be able to finance larger renewable energy installations to meet their needs. Finally, homeowner associations and similar groups of customers sharing a unique set of interests will be able to cooperatively finance and build community-scale renewable energy projects both on and off-site.

SB 316 sponsored by Sens. Karen Peterson, Bruce Ennis, Harris McDowell, David Sokola and Brian Bushweller and Rep. Dennis E. Williams which makes it possible for property owners to install and use ground-mounted solar energy systems on land zoned residential where the lots are one-half acre or greater in size without being restricted by the use of covenants, restrictions, and conditions in deeds, contracts and other legal instruments which might seek to prohibit or unreasonably restrict such construction.

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