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State Sen. McDowell proposes bill to improve state's renwable energy future

Delaware Electric Cooperative

One lawmaker hopes to ensure renewable energy a bright future in the First State.

Newly proposed legislation from State Senator Harris McDowell (D-North Wilmngton) would renew the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.


McDowell recently met with energy industry members prior to drafting the bill.  He said he received a positive response to the changes. 

“We had a robust exchange in that meeting.  I think a lot of people realized we needed to renew the portfolio.  We needed to raise the goal.  We need to extend the timeline,” McDowell said.

McDowell said the portfolio would be extended through 2035 under the proposed bill.  He added that renewable energy purchases would gradually increase by 15 percent during that period.

The North Wilmington Democrat said the bill would also create a new community solar market where the consumer would be the producer.

“This is an opening of the value of solar energy to the consumers,” McDowell said.  “It’s operated through the local community which will serve as the system’s developer to the citizens.  That is to say to the counties, cities, and the towns of Delaware.”

McDowell encouraged Delawareans to participate in the program. But, they’re not required.  He noted that communities would receive incentives for their investments in solar energy.

The Delaware Renewable Portfolio Standard was passed in 2005.  It allows utilities to acquire 25 percent of their electricity from renewable resources.  The portfolio expires in five years.