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Legislative Memo

T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.7093-B (Thompson) / A.11004-A (Englebright)

Support

SUBJECT:

Mandated Purchase of Solar “Renewable Energy Credits”

 

DATE:

June 18, 2010

 

The Business Council opposes this legislation that would lock energy distribution utilities into a solar purchasing mandate with contracts running as late as 2039.  This bill has a projected cost of up to $30 billion over the life of the program, with total costs escalating significantly over time.

Given the state's already high electric power costs - driven by state imposed taxes, fees and surcharges - we oppose measures like this that would add further to energy costs born by the industrial and commercial sector.

For large industrials, this proposal could impose additional costs of $5,000 per month or more, a cost that would increase three fold by 2015, and by tenfold by 2020.

Moreover, we question the need for this solar REC purchase mandate considering other renewable power initiatives already underway in New York State, including support through the renewable portfolio standard, which received $200 million in additional resources earlier this year.

While advances in solar technology may soon make this renewable energy source more efficient and more cost-effective, at present it is a high cost renewable option.  Rather than rely on current market conditions to determine our mix of renewable energy in response to the state's “45 by 15” commitment, this bill would “force feed” a specific renewable technology into the state's electric power system, regardless of its costs on ratepayers.

At most, the state should consider a reasonable solar REC pilot project.

But The Business Council has concerns about the cost impact, and long duration, of this solar REC purchase mandate.  For these reasons, The Business Council recommends against approval of S.7093/A.11004.