1973: The League of Women Voters of Texas became active in the energy area in 1973 when we recommended to LWVUS Council the adoption of Energy as an emergency study item. The study item was not adopted then, but Council directed that a series of energy briefs be published to give members background material on this timely topic.
The following year, again with strong LWV-TX involvement, an Energy Task Force was established at Convention and our first position on energy--relating to conservation--was the outcome. Our national study on alternate sources of energy was also strongly supported by LWV-TX at the 1976 LWVUS Convention.
1980's: During the existence of the Texas Energy and Natural Resources Advisory Council (TENRAC) and its predecessor agencies, the League was represented on advisory committees in the areas of conservation, solar, and nuclear energy. We worked diligently but in vain during the 1983 session to prevent the demise of TENRAC and the Energy Development Fund. We also supported legislation dealing with conservation, solar energy, low-level nuclear waste management, and funding of the Energy Development Fund.
In the effort to increase use of renewable energy, we supported legislation protecting consumers (installer licensing, device testing,) protecting users' access to sun and wind, providing assistance in financing installations, and establishing an energy conservation code. During the 1980's the League was represented at several utility-consumer interaction meetings, where we pressed the utilities to encourage conservation and use of renewable energy to delay the need for more generating plants. We argued this would conserve both natural resources and capital while providing increased employment in the labor-intensive, pollution-free solar energy and weatherization industries. In 1985, we cosponsored a second electric utilities dialogue.
2007: CSHB 3693, supported by LWV-TX, passed and is law, requiring electric utilities in Texas to achieve energy efficiency and conservation. This bill improves and expands existing energy efficiency measures, allows better management of customer demand, updates energy codes, and requires state agencies to utilize equipment and appliances that are more energy efficient.
2011: None of the legislation that we supported passed in this legislative session. However some of the other bills that passed may have positive impacts such as HB 51 (Lucio III,) which establishes high-performance sustainable-design standards for the construction of new state buildings and renovations for which the cost exceeds 50 percent of the value of the existing facility. These standards would apply to institutions of higher education, public education instructional facilities, and certain state agencies.
HB 362 (Solomons) prevents a property owners' association from including or enforcing a provision in a real estate dedicatory instrument that would prohibit a homeowner from installing a solar energy device as defined by the Tax Code. The bill would void any existing deed restriction against solar energy devices.