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House approves Renewable Energy Transmission Authority

Feb 15, 2007 The Associated Press

Legislation intended to promote the generation and transmission of electricity from clean, renewable sources was whisked through the House on Wednesday.

Gov. Bill Richardson called the vote "a major milestone" in his clean-energy agenda.

He had asked lawmakers to make the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority bill, which failed last year, a priority in the 60-day session that ends March 17.

The House approved the bill on a vote of 50-16 with no debate. It headed to the Senate.

The legislation creates a quasi-governmental agency that could build or buy, and operate, transmission facilities for electricity produced from sources including the sun, wind or hydropower - but not from fossil fuels or nuclear facilities.

The authority could sell revenue bonds and use the proceeds to finance or buy facilities.

Richardson said the bill "will help ranchers diversify into the burgeoning wind energy market."

The lack of transmission capacity is the most significant factor limiting wind development in the West, according to the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

The authority would provide additional capacity to get electricity delivered throughout the state and into neighboring states.

The Renewable Energy Transmission Authority bill is HB188.