Rick Perry on Energy and the Environment

Last Updated : Dec 12, 2011

Summary

The energy policy of the state of Texas possesses the Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The RPS requires companies that sell electricity to retail customers to support renewable energy generation. This is accomplished in two steps. First, the state establishes that a set amount of electricity be generated through renewable resources - the portfolio standard. Then, the standard requires that each provider obtain new renewable energy capacity based on the their market share of energy sales times the renewable capacity goal. For example, a competitive retailer with 10 percent of the Texas retail electricity sales in 2009 would be required to obtain 200 megawatts of renewable energy capacity. If a company does not posses renewable energy sources, it can purchase credits from other companies.

This RPS program was started in in 1999 and mandated that Texas power generators collectively generate 2,000 megawatts (MW) of additional renewable energy by 2009. This goal was met by 2005 and Governor Perry supported and signed legislation to set new goals of 5,880 MW by 2015 and 10,000 MW in 2025. Under this program and others, Texas has become the largest wind power generating state in the nation.

To assist in distributing this power to the state, Governor Perry organized a private-public partnership with electricitry companies. Those companies committed $10 billion to wind power generation and the state's Public Utilities Commission agreed to assist in the construction of transmission lines from the windy western planes to the cities.

Early in his career, Rick Perry was state chairman for Senator Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign. At the time, Senator Gore was already an outspoken environmentalist and promoting many of the green policies seen today. Governor Perry has credited that experience with prompting his change the next year to the Republican party. By 2007, Governor Perry was mocking VP Gore's policies and opinions on global warming an carbon dioxide.

Governor Perry is not only critical of Vice President Gore's views, but has stated that there is no evidence of man-made global warming. He has been a strong and vocal opponent of cap-and-trade policies as unnecessary and harmful to the economy. He has been a vocal opponent of the regulation of greenhouse gases through the EPA and their backing of findings by the IPCC that greenhouse gases represent a danger to Texas. 

Despite opposing man-made global warming, Governor Perry has not only greatly expanded the Renewable Portfolio Standard, he pledged $10 billion in funds to wind energy in 2006. He has also pushed for clean air buses and other activities to reduce pollution.

Governor Perry has been supportive of coal factories and signed an executive order in 2005 to expedite the permit process for new coal electricity facilities.

Although he supports all alternative forms of energy, Governor Perry has spoken out against ethanol mandates. He partially blames the mandate for increased food prices. He applied for a 50% waiver from the mandate, which was later denied.

 

Support for Senator Gore's Presidency

Al Gore was elected to the House of Representatives in 1978 where he served three terms until winning the Senate Seat from Tennessee in 1984. In 1986, Congressman Gore held the first  held Congressional hearings on climate change. Senator Gore’s reputation on environment issues was so solidified by 1988 that the first President Bush (Sr) took to the habit of calling him "ozone man".

In that same year (1988), Senator Gore sought but not obtain the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. During that time, Rick Perry served as state chairman of Senator Gore’s presidential campaign. At the time, Rick Perry was a Democratic State Senator.

 

Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard

The Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires companies that sell electricity to retail customers to support renewable energy generation. This is accomplished in two steps. First, the state establishes that a set amount of electricity be generated through renewable resources - the portfolio standard. Then, the standard requires that each provider obtain new renewable energy capacity based on the their market share of energy sales times the renewable capacity goal. For example, a competitive retailer with 10 percent of the Texas retail electricity sales in 2009 would be required to obtain 200 megawatts of renewable energy capacity.

This program was started in in 1999 through Texas States Senate Bill 7. It stated that qualifying renewable energy sources include solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal energy, and biomass. At the time, the portfolio mandated that Texas power generators collectively generate 2,000 megawatts (MW) of additional renewable energy by 2009.

 

SB20

In 2005, Texas passed SB20. This legislation increased the state's total renewable-energy mandate to 5,880 MW by 2015 and a target of 10,000 MW in 2025. This was due in part to Texas meeting it's 2009 goal in 2005. Senate Bill 20 requires that about 5 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2015 and sets a goal of 10 percent by 2025. The bill also requires that 500 megawatts be produced by renewable sources other than wind, such as biomass and solar power. Governor Perry signed in the increased mandate into law, and on August 1, 2005 released a statement praising the legislation.

 

Renewable Energy Credits

The RPS provides for a Renewable Energy Credit (REC) trading program. To meet the RPS targets, utility companies may buy or trade RECs. One REC represents one megawatt-hour of qualified renewable energy that is generated and metered in Texas.

The renewable energy capacity required by the electricity sellers can be provided directly or through the REC market. If a utility earns extra credits, it can sell the credits to utilities who need credits to meet the RPS requirements. This enables electricity providers that do not own or purchase enough renewable energy capacity to purchase credits instead of capacity.

RECs are issued quarterly, based on meter readings. The REC market is administered by ERCOT, the Texas electric grid operator. Penalties for non-compliance with the RPS requirements are enforced by the PUCT. The PUCT has the authority to cap the price of RECs and may suspend the standard if necessary to protect the reliability and operation of the grid.

 

Clean Air and Fuel for Buses

In June of 2002, Governor Perry directed the department of Transportation for Texas to take appropriate measures to move a portion of the bus fleet to cleaner burning diesel fuels, and to move a portion of the fleet to zero emission vehicles.

 

Executive Order - Coal Plants

On October 27, 2005 Governor Perry signed an executive order which contained a provision to fast track permits for coal power plants.

 

Historic Investment in Wind Power

In September and October of 2006, Governor Perry issued two press statements noting a historic investment of $10 billion in wind power projects to assist in mechanisms to transport the energy from the western production areas to the cities. He notes that wind power is a zero-emission power source, and that for every 1000 megawatts generated by new wind sources, we will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by six million tons over the next 20 years.

 

Global Warming Bandwagon

In September of 2007, Governor Perry spoke to a group of California Republicans. He mocked Vice President Gore's views on global warming and referred to the issue as a bandwagon that people were jumping off of daily.

 

Opposition to Ethanol Mandate

Governor Perry opposes the federal ethanol mandate. He has stated that the grain based fuel mandate is partly to blame for the rising food prices due to the pressure placed on corn prices and cattle feed prices. In April of 2008 he asked the Environmental protection agency for a 50% waiver from the fuel requirement. In August of that year, the EPA denied that request. In May of 2008, he wrote an editorial discussing his views on ethanol.

 

Cap-and-Trade Could Harm Texas Economy

In June of 2009, Governor Perry issued a press statement noting his views that a cap-and-trade program could severely harm the Texas economy.

 

The EPA and Greenhouse Gases

In December of 2009, the EPA ruled that carbon dioxide was a danger to the environment. This action was immediately opposed by Governor Perry. On December 7, Governor Perry stated that it was unconscionable that unelected bureaucrats at the EPA have declared carbon dioxide a public danger despite a lack of scientific evidence to support their ruling. Two days later, Governor Perry sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asking her to withdraw the ruling. On February 16, 2010 Governor Perry announced that the state of Texas was filing suit in federal court to prevent the implementation of the policy stating that it painted a target on the backs of Texans and was in violation of the tenth amendment. On March 10, 2010 Governor Perry sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to oppose the EPA regulation of carbon dioxide, and in May of 2010, Governor Perry spoke about these issues while speaking about the economy of Texas.

In June of 2010, Governor Perry stated that the endangerment ruling would circumvent the progress Texas was making on air quality and harm the Texas economy. In late June of 2010, Governor Perry moved forward with a federal suit against the EPA's over-ruling of a 16 year old clean air act in Texas to enforce the carbon dioxide endangerment finding.  

In July of 2009, the EPA denied a petition put forth by Texas to challenge the findings of endangerment from the emission of greenhouse gases. Governor Perry released a press statement noting his disappointment at the ruling.

 

Statements on 2010 Campaign Website

 

The Western Debate

In October of 2011, Governor Perry participated in the Western Debate in Las Vegas. He speaks about his support for energy indepence through increased exploration. He also stated that he opposed the Yucca mountain project for waste depository.

 

Statements on Official Website

 

 

 

 

 

References

[1] Website: Enviroknow Article: Rick Perry Was Al Gore’s Texas Campaign Chairman in 1988 Author: Josh Nelson Accessed on: 07/20/2011

[2] Website: Time.com Article: A Green Tipping Point Author: Bryan Walsh Accessed on: 07/20/2011

[3] Website: The Guardian Article: Timeline: Al Gore Author: Jessica Aldred Accessed on: 07/20/2011

[4] Website: DallasNews.com Article: Texas Gov. Rick Perry takes jab at ex-ally Al Gore on climate change Author: GROMER JEFFERS Jr Accessed on: 07/20/2011

[5] Website: State Energy Conservation Office Article: Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard Author: NA Accessed on: 07/21/2011

[6] Website: Texas State Legislature Article: Text of SB20 Author: NA Accessed on: 07/21/2011

[7] Website: Austin American Statesman Article: Governor Warming Author: W. Gardner Selby and Asher Price Accessed on: 07/27/2011

[8] Website: Texas Tribune Article: Texas' Wind Transmission Project Keeps Rolling Author: Kate Galbraith Accessed on: 09/21/2011

[9] Website: Texas Tribune Article: Texas Could Require Disclosure of Drilling Chemicals Author: Kate Galbraith Accessed on: 09/22/2011

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