After such a busy week, I thought this week deserved a second update primarily around our legislative activities.
We began the week closing in on the final version of a memo we had planned to give to Al Carlson for him to turn into a Resolution of support for the industry. We were also working on language at his request to beef up the PSC’s ability to examine new intermittent resources for need and reliability.
That process was time consuming and complicated, and I pass along my thanks to each of your government relation’s people who put in thankless overtime hashing out to the word different versions of amendment proposals. The goal was to create new language that didn’t create uncertainty or damage existing plans while still giving the PSC the ability to aggressively examine proposals that were purely speculative.
Ahead of schedule, Al Carson asked us to come in for an update on Wednesday, which pushed a few critical remaining issues into the foreground. We came to tentative agreement on text Tuesday evening, but then took another look on Wednesday morning regarding one issue of “repowering” existing facilities.
During the time we were still discussing how to resolve that final issue, we were called in before our scheduled meeting to Rep Carlson’s office, who asked us what we had accomplished. We told him about our tentative agreement and told him we were still working on repowering and also wanted to run the language by the PSC, since it was directly dealing with their dominion.
However, Rep. Carlson essentially told us that our time was up and that he would take the last piece of text we had agreed upon and introduce it as an amendment in 20 minutes.
At the hearing, we expressed our support of the text while emphasizing that it was not unanimous, and there was also several people and groups who spoke against it. Chairman Porter adjourned the hearing and said he would reconvene at 9:30 today, at which point Randy Christmann came and spoke in support of the concept. Julie Fedorchak was more measured in her response, and would have preferred a financial subsidy through a tax cut to help the coal industry.
The result was that the text we presented was stricken and one existing section of PSC code was amended to add the word “need” to the section that also allows the PSC to look at direct and indirect economic impacts.
While our original text was intended to apply the “need calculation” to new generation facilities and placed the burden of proof onto new wind developers to demonstrate need, the amended language applies the “need calculation” to all PSC transactions that implicate the Siting Act while striking the new language that would create a new, stricter burden of proof for wind. So in one way the new language is both “tougher” and “more permissive” than what we had agreed on.
However, since the amendment went astray from what we had agreed upon, we no longer have a unified position regarding this language. We are going to be over there on Monday and answer questions and be a resource.
So that’s what I know as of Friday afternoon…I encourage those who are interested to touch base with your government relations representative or myself for more information.