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

2010 US Election Preview for Cleantech

Cleantech can count on continued support from the Obama Administration, but Congress's ability to pass legislation may be substantially weaker after the November elections. Polls indicate that Democratic majorities may be lost in House and weakened in the Senate. This would severely damage prospects for a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and extensions of key subsidy programs.

Programs with the most election exposure include:

  • Proposed cap and trade & RPS
  • Proposed natural gas vehicle incentives
  • $5b of proposed clean energy Manufacturer’s Tax Credit (MTC)
  • $60b in DOE loan guarantee lending authority ($35b already rescinded)
  • Tax credits extension for biodesiel (expired in 2010), biomass (expired in 2010), and ethanol (expires in 2011) 
  • Investment Tax Credit (ITC) cash grant program (expires in 2011) and the Production Tax Credit (PTC) (expires in 2013) which are critical for wind and geothermal.

Programs with the least election exposure include:

  • 29 State Level RPSs
  • $25b of unspent DOE stimulus funding
  • Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel mandates through 2022
  • ITC guaranteed at 30% through 2016 which is critical for solar and fuel cells

Passing cap and trade appears impossible; RPS and subsidy extensions depend on election results and willingness of Democrats to embrace nuclear and natural gas. An energy debate is likely in 2011 because Congress needs a response to the Gulf oil spill and prospects for lame duck legislation are very poor. However, given that the Senate was unable to swallow cap and trade in 2010 with a 59 seat majority, we believe it may be impossible to do so after the election. In our view, RPS may be achievable if Democrats maintain a slim majority in both chambers and are willing to include a role for nuclear energy. Extending other cleantech subsidies will require further compromises with Republicans on natural gas and offshore drilling. We note that such cooperation would be a radical shift from the present environment. 

We look for the Administration to rely heavily on federal agencies in 2011.

  • Department of Energy still has $25b of unspent stimulus funding favoring smartgrid and advanced batteries, plus another $25b in loan guarantees.
  • Environmental Protection Agency continues to assert its right to regulate emissions including CO2, SOX, NOX, methane, mercury. We anticipate heavy resistance from states and industries, but the cumulative impact is still a likely growth driver for clean technologies.
  • Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) permitted its first solar projects on 10/5/10, and its backlog implies over 10GW could be approved in the next year. The projects are all located in southwest states and favor concentrated solar over photovoltaics. Offshore wind suffered a setback when the agency drafting its future role was broken up over the Gulf oil spill, but it remains a high priority of the Administration.

Despite the negative outlook for new legislative support, we expect continued growth in the US renewable energy and energy efficiency market fueled by decreasing costs, public awareness, existing government incentives, and strong natural resources.

[Editor's note: to hear Robert explain this and other potential clean energy legislative developments, play the video below.]

Robert Lahey is a Vice President in the Investment Banking division of Ardour Capital Investments, LLC , and can be reached at Founded in 2002, Ardour Capital is the leading research and investment-banking firm exclusively focused on energy technology, alternative energy and power, and clean & renewable technologies. Ardour Capital publishes in-depth company coverage and industry specific research, and offers a full range of corporate finance, investment banking and capital market services. Robert holds a BBA from George Washington University, a JD from New York Law School, and an MBA from Fordham University. 

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now



Virginia Regulators Approve 80 MW Amazon Solar Farm

Renewable Energy World Editors Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Sept. 28 announced that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality plans to issue a per...

Climate Deal Gains With Brazil Pollution Plan and European Cash

Vanessa Dezem, Anna Edgerton and Alex Nussbaum, Bloomberg Brazil said it will seek to cut its global warming pollution by 37 percent while France and the U.K. pledged billions...

African Development Bank Seeks $55 Billion for Energy

Anna Hirtenstein, Bloomberg African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, who took over this month, said he’s aiming to eliminate Africa’s...


Fronius Shifting the Limits in Solar-Plus: It’s not just about products, it’s about solutions.

Fronius USA, who just recently launched the all-new Fronius SnapINverter line this past...

IREC Announces Changes in Regulatory Team

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), a not-for-profit organization which for...

IREC Awarded New Funding to Advance Digital Credentials

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) proudly announces funding for an innovat...

$100 Discount on 5-day Advanced PV Project Experience Workhop

Upcoming 5-day Workshops: Nov. 7 - 11 Feb. 6 - 10


NY Gov. Cuomo Pledges to Create Carbon Market use Solar, Wind to reduce Climate Change

This week former Vice President Al Gore joined with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to sign the Under 2 MOU, a directi...
clean energy

In Clean Energy, The Truth Matters

A group of about 20 protesters gathered outside the Sheraton in Burlington, Vt., early on Oct. 8 as attendees arrived...

Industry Focus: Cleantech: 1366 Technologies joins Solarcity in New York

1366 is set to build a factory just up the road (OK, it is a long road – NYS Thruway) from Solarcity.  The...


Robert Lahey is the Senior Legislative Analyst at Ardour Capital Investments LLC. He holds a BBA from George Washington University, a JD from New York Law School, and an MBA from Fordham University. Founded in 2002, Ardour Capital is the leading ...


Volume 18, Issue 4


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


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

World Bio Markets 2016

  Where senior executives build and grow partnerships across the bi...

World Bio Markets Brasil

The only event uniting Brasil's sugar mills and biodiesel producers ac...


Guide To Internet Marketing

According to the 2014 Digital Democracy Survey by Deloitte, over one thi...

Now Or Later?

Does your To-Do list have hundreds of items on it? Do you often find you...

10 Questions You Should Be Asking

Tony Robbins is fond of saying that the quality of your life is directly...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now