House passes renewable energy bill

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The Vermont House has passed legislation to boost Vermont’s renewable energy industry – over the objections of Gov. Jim Douglas and some business leaders.

With an 88-44 roll call vote, the House on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill calling on the Public Service Board to set "standard offer" rates that would be paid by utilities for power from developers of wind-powered, solar and other renewable energy projects.

The above-market rates would be expected to raise electric rates. Estimates vary from half of 1 percent to 3 percent. Douglas calls that bad for business and for Vermont’s fragile economy.

Backers of the bill say it’s time to get serious about developing renewable power sources.

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