Imagine that! Incentives for utilities to do the right thing

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By: SGN Staff

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By Jesse Berst

 

Much of today's regulation around renewables and energy efficiency is heavy on the stick (mandates, portfolio standards) and short on the carrot (incentives).

 

At least one U.S. Senator wants to change that. Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico has introduced the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012. The bill sets standards that gradually ratchet up. But it lets utilities decide just how to meet those standards and provides incentives for meeting them. Bingaman told Platts Magazine that "our system of on-and-off tax incentives has not proven to be the sort of sustained signal that is needed in order to unleash innovation in the marketplace."

 

NextEra Energy Chairman and CEO Lew Hay was quick to applaud the bill and the flexibility it provides to utilities. In a prepared statement, he said: "Over the long term, an 'all of the above' approach will produce electric bills that are as low as possible, while ensuring high reliability and fewer harmful emissions."