Climate Change: State and Local Perspectives
Thank you, Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing.
And I'd like to thank the panel for taking time out of their extremely busy schedules to appear before us today.
Some States and regions are moving towards a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gases. Some, like Texas, are not. California is working on a system now after its law was passed last year.
Yet, Texas has surpassed California as the U.S. leader in renewable energy. In 2005, the State Legislature increased the state Renewable Portfolio Standard from 2,880 MW to 5,880 MW of installed renewable generation by 2015, with an even more aggressive target of 10,000 MW by 2025.
I applaud the Texas State legislature for establishing these ambitious goals, as well as the Public Utility Commission of Texas, represented here today by Commissioner Julie Caruthers Parsley, for setting policies that encourage the use of renewable energy.
Whether it be global warming, peak oil, high prices, or instability in the Middle East, signs point to a day when we need to have energy sources that are not hydrocarbon-based. And some signs may suggest sooner rather than later.
As technology continues to improve, I anticipate that renewable sources will take on an even greater importance in reducing our dependence on foreign energy and reducing emissions of all kinds. I am heartened by reports of new solar panels, for example, that operate in low-light conditions.
I strongly support the use of renewable energy and believe that where it can be installed, it should be. I am, however, concerned about adopting a federal mandatory Renewable Electricity Standard requirement when individual states, such as Texas and others represented here today, have already made significant improvement in this area on their own.
I look forward to hearing from Commissioner Parsley about how Texas has been able to achieve such success, so we might have the benefit of Texas' expertise in this matter.
I also look forward to hearing from our witnesses about state and local initiatives, including zoning and planning, that encourage efficiency and conservation.