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Renewable sources requirement paused by bill’s author

by Minden Press-Herald

(The Center Square) – Requirement of electric vehicle chargers in Louisiana using electricity from renewable sources was paused by the author of the legislation Tuesday.

Rep. Troy Romero, R-Jennings, told the Committee on Commerce in the House of Representatives that charging stations using wind and solar energy was “a conversation that we need to have.”

He also said that he will be driving gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles for “a very long time,” but he had no objections to people driving electric cars.

“The idea behind this bill is to bring awareness,” Romero said. “Currently, electric charging stations are wired into the grid. This means that every charging station is using fossil fuels currently. Over the last few years, we’ve heard about the new Green Deal and somehow, how driving an EV would save the world.

“It’s obvious to me that saving the world would be to use 100% green energy to charge these vehicles. If we’re going to drive electric vehicles, we need to have a discussion on how they’re powered.”

Romero said the state has 233 charging stations and that having them powered by wind and solar would “create jobs and economic development.”

Jody Montelaro is the vice president of public affairs for Entergy Louisiana, one of the state’s largest investor-owned utilities. He told the committee, “Entergy is certainly not getting into the infrastructure business of chargers more so than we got into the air conditioning business whenever we started selling more power to houses.”

He also said that charging stations purchased power from Entergy at the same rates, be it wholesale or retail, for other customers of the utility.

Montelaro also referenced an order issued by the Public Service Commission that said charging station owners would not be considered utilities for regulatory purposes, even though they resell electricity they purchase from the grid.

Brandon Frey, the executive secretary for the commission, said the five-member elected body regularly audits the rates that the state’s investor-owned utilities charge customers, including charging station owners.

General Motors and Entergy filed cards in opposition to the bill.

A related bill, House Bill 515, was approved by the House Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works on Tuesday.

The measure authored by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, would prohibit any state agency from placing limits or a prohibition on the sale or use of new vehicles with internal combustion engines.

The committee has also approved a similar bill, House Bill 341 by Rep. Phillip Tarver, R-Lake Charles.

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