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Big electric utilities want to change federal law requiring them to buy renewable energy

Wind turbines
Priscilla Du Preez

Stateside has been looking into changes to the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA). The federal act requires electric utility companies to buy energy from solar, wind, and other renewable generators as long as they don’t have to pay more than it costs to generate that power themselves.

Michigan Congressman TimWalberg's bill would alter PURPA in a way that would let utilities decline to purchase energy from renewable resources.

We recently talked to the Congressman and a solar energy provider, but we felt like we needed to know more about PURPA itself.

Margrethe Kearney, senior staff attorney with the Grand Rapids office of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, joined Stateside to talk about the original intent of PURPA legislation, its influence on encouraging the development of renewable energy, Consumers Energy’s reason for seeking an exemption on buying renewable energy, and the potential fallout for the industry if PURPA were to end.

Listen above.

*Correction: The original post stated that Congressman Walberg wants to end PURPA. It is more accurate to say that the Congressman's bill would alter PURPA in a way that would let utilities decline to purchase energy from renewable resources.

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