Watch the energy bill grow
The energy bill (SB 1544) that the governor has been pushing for, hits its last committee in the Senate later Thursday afternoon -- government appropriations. At 151 pages, the 2008 Senate energy bill is roughly as big and intimidating as every other energy bill the Legislature has passed over the past three sessions.
It strengthens state environmental standards and goals, codifying into law some executive orders the governor issued last summer, like making the Public Service Commission come up with rules that would force utilities to use more renewable energy (which renewable waste energy companies also like).
The utility companies aren't complaining too loudly about the prospects of going greener, because they'll get to pass much of that cost to consumers. (The analysis states: "While it is certain there will be a price increase to ratepayers, there are too many variables to project the amount of the increase.") Also, the bill now includes all sorts of perks for utilities, which used to be in a different bill.
The House bill is even longer at 191 pages, but it's pretty close to the Senate bill in substance. There's lots of other stuff in the energy bills too, like giving tax credits for renewable energy technologies and encouraging the use of solar power.
Check out how Times columnist Howard Troxler broke down the 2008 energy bill on our sister blog.