The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Energy Bill Update: Will Renewables Be a Part of the Political Landscape?

After much concern about whether or not key provisions for renewable energy will be a part of this year's energy bill, it appears that tax incentives and a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) are still options on the table, according to industry sources in contact with staffers working on the legislation.

Last week, industry trade groups in Washington reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi publicly stated that they would separate the tax incentives and RPS from the energy bill in order to pass it before the Thanksgiving recess.

Now, because of increased pressure from industry associations, their members and other concerned citizens, Congressional leaders say they are still looking at all possible options for the energy bill and that a decision on final language probably won't come until next month.

“I think we're looking at a December timeline for anything, says Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA). “The question is, 'what's going to be in it?'”

There is much speculation about what renewable energy provisions – if any – will go back into the bill. The White House has said that it supports a scaled-down RPS and lowered fuel efficiency requirements, but it won't support tax incentives for renewable energy that are funded by taking incentives away from the fossil fuel industries. Since gaining control of Congress, Democrats have pledged to follow a “pay as you go” approach to legislation – meaning to fund new programs, the expense must be offset from somewhere else.

Both Reid and Pelosi have expressed strong support for renewable energy in the past; however, says Gawell, the issue is not whether Democrats support renewables, “it's whether or not they have the votes to override a Presidential veto.” GEA, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and other trade groups have been communicating with the offices of Reid and Pelosi about the issue all week.

Scott Sklar, President of the Stella Group Ltd., a renewable energy marketing and policy analysis firm disagrees with the concerns over a veto. He has been closely watching the political drama unfold in D.C., and he says that the Democrats shouldn't be pressured to strip the bill so bare.

“Many of us believe the Democratic leadership is falling into a game of chicken here. We do have a lot of Republican support for our provisions, so we don't believe they ought to be caving in,” he says. “Playing this kind of game by taking the investment and production credits out of the bill throws us in the position where you may have an energy bill that doesn't really have incentives for renewable energy and high value energy efficiency – and that would be tragic.”

It is still unclear how the bill will be modified. Both Reid and Pelosi's office declined to comment on the status of the renewable energy provisions, but trade group representatives say they are making some progress in getting the tax incentives and RPS back in the bill for December.

For more information on the energy bill, see the earlier story.

RELATED ARTICLES

Rooftop Solar Panels

Hypocrisy? While Buffett Champions Renewables, His Company Fights Rooftop Solar

Mark Chediak, Noah Buhayar and Margaret Newkirk, Bloomberg Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power.
Japan Microgrid

Born from Disaster: Japan Establishes First Microgrid Community

Junko Movellan, Correspondent Although Japan's Fukushima prefecture is most commonly associated with the 2011 disaster due to the nuclear power melt-down, Miyazaki prefecture, located north of Fukushima, suffered from the largest death toll, close to 10...
Renewable Energy Finance

Clean Energy ETFs Are on a Tear

Eric Balchunas, Bloomberg Green investing used to be synonymous with losing money. But while the S&P 500 Index is up 2 percent this year, and the MSCI All-Country World Index is up 5 percent, clean energy ETFs have double-digit re...

Wheels, Towers and Trees: Unconventional Renewable Energy Technologies in the Pipeline

Andrew Williams, International Correspondent A number of companies around the world are developing novel technologies in an effort to grab a slice of the global renewable energy market.  Although many of these technologies are simple incremental improvements to e...
I am a reporter with ClimateProgress.org, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in to...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

EU PVSEC 2015 (European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition)

The EU PVSEC is the largest international Conference for Photovoltaic re...

More Power, More Profit Tour - Secaucus

SMA’s More Power, More Profit Tour is aimed to provide highly-valu...

COMPANY BLOGS

EU PVSEC 2014 extends its Scope

Added focus on application and policy topicsAbstracts for conference con...

EU PVSEC 2014: Call for Papers Receives Great Response

More than 1,500 contributions apply for presentation in AmsterdamScienti...

Boulder County Residents Generate Their Own Energy with Community S...

Despite a soggy afternoon, solar energy advocates gathered at ...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS