Environmental Groups File Energy Petition
Environmental groups filed a petition today charging the Public Utility Commission of Texas with dragging its feet when it comes to solar and geothermal energy in Texas.
At the heart of the petition is a question that has come up before: whether the PUC is mandated by the state legislature to reach renewable energy “targets.” Environmental groups say it is. Sierra Club lawyer Casey Roberts says in 2007 lawmakers amended the Renewable Portfolio Standard, so that private and public electric utilities would comply with the renewable goals.
“It’s our position that’s a clear indication that the legislature believes that’s something to comply with,” Roberts said.
Of course the PUC has not seen it that way in the past, and last legislative session, lawmakers never got around to clarifying what they meant. There’s a process for when these petitions are filed, and now the PUC has sixty days to respond.
“The commission either shall deny the petition in writing, stating its reasons for the denial, or shall initiate rulemaking proceedings,” said PUC spokesman Terry Hadley.
That means that unless the PUC has had a major change of heart since the last time this came up, the whole question could be put to lawmakers again during next year’s legislative session.