Dover City Council has opted to join the proposal laid forth by the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation it belongs to in order to comply with the state-mandated Renewable Portfolio Standard.
City Council voted 6-2 to join the DEMEC proposal at its meeting Monday night in City Hall.
The state's Renewable Portfolio Standard requires each retail seller of electricity to include in its resource portfolio annually increasing amounts of electricity gained from renewable, "green" energy resources, including solar electric, wind, ocean tidal and others, until 25 percent of their energy comes from renewable resources by the year 2025, City Manager Scott Koenig said.
For 2013, members must purchase 10 percent of their calculated power load from qualified, renewable resources, including 0.6 percent from solar panels, in order to comply with the state statute, DEMEC CEO and President Patrick McCullar said in his Monday report to council's Utility Committee. The percentages go up from there through 2017, when the green energy requirement hits 16 percent.
DEMEC is a public power utility incorporated as a not-for-profit Delaware corporation. Membership in DEMEC is composed of the nine municipal electric utilities in the state, Koenig said. DEMEC has been authorized by the nine member utilities to manage compliance with the Renewable Portfolio Standard.
City Controller Donna Mitchell said the plan laid out by McCullough needed to be approved by council in order to meet the state's deadline for a plan on Jan. 1, 2013.
However, Councilman David Anderson took umbrage with the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard. Anderson has described the RPS as an assault on individual liberty due to the fact it would artificially cause either higher energy costs or rationing, Anderson said. He also doubted the state's lofty goal of requiring utilities to provide a product that was one-fourth green energy by 2025.
"The idea that 25 percent of the state's energy is going to come from renewable sources is a fantasy," Anderson said. "I think the state needs to come to reality.
"The Renewable Portfolio Standard is already costing the ratepayers of this state a great deal of money," he added. "We have some the highest electric rates in the country because of these wrongheaded policies."
Councilman David Bonar, chairman of the Utility Committee, said Anderson was right in his assessment.
"In reality, we probably won't meet the mandated RPS standards set forth," he said. "This particular action the city is being asked to undertake puts us in line with those rules and regulations mandated by the Legislature. If we don't fall in line with the rest of the municipalities, the Legislature could in its wisdom enact penalties at a later date and impact the city financially."