Renewable Energy Standard proposal in Springfield

Renewable Energy Standard proposal in Springfield

By Hans Detweiler, Advocate for Environmental Law and Policy Center

1. Renewable Energy Standard proposal in Springfield!

America and Illinois need real energy independence. Sen. Pat Welch recently introduced legislation to require utilities to generate 5 percent of their power from renewable energy resources by 2010 and 15 percent by 2020. This is a common-sense proposal to make sure that Illinois begins using cost-effective and clean renewable energy technologies that are available off-the-shelf today.

Renewable energy is increasingly cost competitive with traditional energy sources, and the RPS proposal will not cause an increase in rates.

Increasing our use of renewable energy will provide a strong boost for Illinois’ economy both through the investment it will bring to the state (new wind turbines bring royalties to farmers and landowners, construction jobs, maintenance jobs, and significant local property taxes, for example) and by keeping our energy dollars in state (instead of buying natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico or Wyoming).

Following are Sen. Welch’s press release and two ELPC fact sheets on proposal. 2.Want to pitch in and help? What can you do to help Illinois adopt a Renewable Energy Standard?

The most important thing you can do to help is to contact your state representative and state senator and ask them to cosponsor the legislation. You can use the following fact sheets for more information, and contact me with any questions about the bill, to make sure you are fully comfortable with the subject. Conversations that these elected officials have with their constituents are crucial to our bill. After talking with them, please let me know how they responded, if they had any questions, or other important comments that they’ve made.

Additionally, I’m looking for one or two people to help out with a small research task. We’re looking to compile a series of quotations from business papers and magazines discussing the recent success of renewable energy and how cost-competitive it has become. For instance, The New York Times this Sunday included a business story that said “Wind power, the most developed renewable energy source, generates electricity for around 4 cents a kilowatt-hour, putting it on par with coal.” We’d like to put together a fact sheet with similar quotations from the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and the Financial Times, etc. (well-respected financial journals, NOT sympathetic publications like Solar Today, etc). If you would like to help with that research task, please let me know.

3. Bush Proposes Larger Tax Credits for Hummers

Utilizing a Reagan-era tax loophole that grants larger business deductions to pick-ups than it does to ordinary cars, the Bush Administration, according to The New York Times (Jan. 21, 2003), would “increase by 50 percent or more the deductions that small-business owners can take on the biggest and most expensive sports utility vehicles and pickups.”

Thus, if a small business owner buys a gas-guzzling (10-11 mpg) Hummer HI, with a list price of $102,581, he or she can deduct $75,000 from the price as a capital equipment deduction. A business that purchases a gas-efficient (45 mpg) Toyota Prius with a $20,500 sticker price, can’t even deduct half of that cost, even with the $2,000 deduction the government is allowing for fuel-efficient vehicles included.

* From Marty Jezer, whose books include The Dark Ages: Life in the U.S. 1945-1960. He writes from Brattleboro, Vermont and welcomes comments at Hans Deitweiler is a Policy Advocate for the Environmental Law and Policy Center. For information, contact Hans Detweiler, Environmental Law & Policy Center, 35 E. Wacker, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601 312-795-3720; 312-795-3730 (fax);;;

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