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July 17, 2007

State lawmakers failed to tackle solar warming

I strongly agree with the July 8 online editorial from the Des Moines Register (June 30), “Another View: Energy bill chugs along, losing steam” that Congress may be dropping the ball when it comes renewable energy. Our Legislature recognized the importance of clean energy last month when it passed Oregon’s state-wide renewable energy standard. That law requires our largest utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2025.

Surprisingly, the law was supported by utilities, unions and businesses — not just environmentalists. That’s because renewable energy development creates jobs and saves money for consumers while reducing global warming pollution. In fact, the latest analysis by our two largest utilities, Pacific Power and PGE, shows that wind power is among the cheapest alternatives available — edging out fossil-fueled generation in long-range cost comparisons.

But even though over 20 states have passed renewable energy laws since 2000, the result is a tangle of requirements that make it difficult for businesses to invest. And, many states have no standard at all. Thus the need for a national law.

Rep. Darlene Hooley can make a difference in this debate. She needs to co-sponsor the Federal Renewable Electricity Standard (H.R. 969) that requires utilities across the country to generate 20 percent of their electricity from clean, renewable resources by 2020. Oregon can’t solve global warming alone.

Steve Weiss, Salem