Delaware legislature approves boost to renewable portfolio standard

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Delaware lawmakers passed a bill to increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). S.B.33, sponsored by Sen. Stephanie Hansen and Rep. Ed Osienski, now goes to Gov. John Carney for his signature.

According to the bill sponsors, Delaware is on track to meet its existing RPS goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025. S.B.33 would extend the standard for regulated utilities and gradually increase it each year until reaching 40% by 2035.

The RPS solar carve-out would nearly triple from 3.5% by 2025 to 10% by 2035.

Osienski called RPS policies an “effective solution to transitioning away from harmful fossil fuels” and said it “makes good sense” to establish higher goals for Delaware.

However, environmental group Sierra Club argued the proposed 40% by 2035 target doesn’t go high enough.

“While Senator Hansen’s bill importantly raises the state’s dismal renewable energy standard, it still leaves Delaware far behind virtually every state in the region, most of which have 50% or higher renewable energy commitments during the same timeline,” said Sherri Evans-Stanton, director of the group’s Delaware chapter.

The Sierra Club said it plans to work with state lawmakers on future energy legislation.

According to the bill sponsors, S.B.33 would settle a dispute over cost caps for renewable energy credits by establishing a maximum price and alternative compliance payments, should the cost of these credits rise unexpectedly.

Sponsors claimed this market-based mechanism would replace existing cost cap provisions, end ongoing litigation on the subject, and protect ratepayers.

Carney has expressed support for the RPS update and is expected to sign the bill into law.

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