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40-Year-Old Renewable Energy Law's Due for a Revamp

  • Purpa has been key to the growth of solar and wind power
  • New energy regulator is open to tweaks, if not an overhaul
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A 40-year-old law that’s been key to the growth of renewable energy in the U.S. may be due for an overhaul.

Much has changed since the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, called Purpa, was established in response to the Arab oil embargo of the early 1970s. Concerned about energy shortages, Congress wrote the law in part to encourage alternative energy. But that era of scarcity has since been replaced by one of abundance. And utilities say that Purpa should change with the times.