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

How House Republicans May Control the Energy Debate

With midterm elections complete and a GOP House in place, the newcomers have the opportunity to either push forward or detain renewable energy policy.

The new Congress has several ideas to work with that were held over from Obama's first two years in office, including a renewable electricity standard that expands the definition of what energy types count toward the thresholds, particularly adding emission-free nuclear power and clean coal to the definition of renewable energy. Some wonder if the new Republican Congress will be staunch policy conservatives like many of their predecessors, or flexible enough to implement changes that will positively affect renewable energy.

Tax incentives are sure to be a major driver to renewable energy development during this half-term. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) is in line to become the new chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, a role that has significant influence over tax measures for renewables.

Camp is the current top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee. His Michigan District 4 is home to a number of wind and solar manufacturers, such as Dow Chemical, Dow Corning and United Solar Ovonic. Though a self-proclaimed supporter of alternative energy, Camp believes “it takes today’s energy to power tomorrow’s technology,” as he said in the April 14, 2010 Hearing on Energy Tax Incentives Driving the Green Job Economy.

“You cannot increase the cost of producing 85 percent of the energy being used today and expect consumers or employers to benefit from tax incentives that are going to less than 10 percent of the energy being used today,” Camp said.

Camp was referencing the fact that there was little change in America’s reliance on fossil fuels from 2007 to 2009 despite the investment of nearly $40 billion in tax subsidies for renewables enacted in October of 2008. In the remarks Camp made during the April 14 hearing, he said that in 2007, petroleum, coal, nuclear and natural gas supplied 93 percent of America’s energy, while renewable energy supplied only 7 percent. In 2009, 92 percent of the nation’s energy came from petroleum, coal, nuclear and natural gas and 8 percent from renewables.

While Camp’s words may seem discouraging to some renewable developers, his track record displays more openness toward renewables than some of his Republican predecessors. In October 2009, he cosponsored legislation to invest $2.25 billion for a solar technology research and development program and to create a committee to study the near and long-term research and development needs in solar technology. In November of 2009, he cosponsored legislation to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow an investment credit for property used to fabricate solar energy property. And as a push for the bulk of the power industry, Camp cosponsored legislation in January 2009 to amend the Clean Air Act to provide that greenhouse gases are not subject to the Act.

Elias Hinckley, a partner at the law firm Venable and professor of international energy policy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, said Camp’s reputation as a proponent of clean energy could be beneficial to renewables. However, if Tea Party candidates instigate an energy tax, “that may guide some of his policy driving.”

In regards to policy under the new House, Hinckley said the extension of existing tax subsidies for renewables is “relatively safe.” However, the Treasury Grant Program may not be met with an extension. “I see some real difficulty considering its eroding support,” Hinckley said.

Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of the Biomass Power Association, said Camp has been a supporter of biomass in the past and comes from a state that ranks in the top five states in the country in terms of biomass plants. “If the past is any judge of it, we anticipate continuing to getting a lot of support from within the Ways and Means Committee.”

Cleaves said extension of the Treasury Grant Program and other subsidies will depend largely on what happens during the lame-duck session. “The question is: is there going to be enough time in a lame duck for Congress to address the extensions? We’re very hopeful that it gets addressed before year-end.”

Instead of the new House focusing on climate issues, Cleaves said he expects a greater emphasis on tax policy. “Whether a newly reconstituted Congress can get their arms around the idea of a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard, I think that remains to be seen.”

Many political analysts are projecting the new House to offer suggestions for compromise, including tax breaks and incentives for investment in nuclear power, clean coal and renewable energy. Scott Segal, an industry lobbyist, told Politico that he expects Republicans to accept incentives for energy efficiency, nuclear power and hydroelectric power, coupled with credits for geothermal heat pumps and next-generation heating, ventilating and air conditioning.

“An approach like this would be very consistent with the expressed desire of the President to continue to focus on energy but to do so in ‘chunks’ as opposed to a comprehensive bill,” Segal said.

Camp’s philosophy seems to mesh with this expectation for new technology that will lessen reliance on foreign oil and encourage innovation through alternative and renewable fuels. In an issue statement, Camp said, “It is imperative that policies are in place to encourage the research and development of new, cellulosic fuels that use crop and animal waste and greater use of solar, wind, clean coal and other new energy technologies.”

 

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

RELATED ARTICLES

Electricity Deregulation

Japan Electricity Deregulation: Birth of Municipally Owned Electric Utilities

Junko Movellan, Correspondent The upcoming retail electricity deregulation in Japan will create a way for Japanese municipal governments to produce...
Solar panel

REC Joins O Capital in Egypt to Tap Solar Panel Market in Middle East, Africa

Anna Hirtenstein, Bloomberg REC Solar ASA has signed a deal with O Capital, the renewable energy arm of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Hold...
Solar PV

OneEnergy Seeks Authority to Build 6 MW Solar PV Facility in Southern Maryland

Jennifer Delony OneEnergy Renewables is seeking regulatory approval in Maryland to build a 6 MW solar PV facility in Somerset County,...
Solar water heating

California Regulators Propose Expansion of Eligibility Requirements for Solar Water Heating Program

Jennifer Delony The California Public Utilities Commission has proposed expanding the eligibility requirements for customers seeking ...

PRESS RELEASES

Canadian Solar Wins Five Solar Power Projects Totaling 185 MW in Brazil

These power projects were won under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the B...

$100 Off of 5-day Advanced PV Project Experience. Download a Topic Schedule.

Assemble, ground, energize, and commission a complete grid-tied SolarEdge system from s...

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd talks politics of fear vs. politics of hope

Rudd, who led the Australian parliament from 2007 to 2010, told the Summit audience tha...

Intersolar AWARD „Solar Projects in India“ – Applications being accepted until September 18

The Intersolar AWARD in the category Solar Projects in India honors projects in the fie...

FEATURED BLOGS

Washington, DC Bridges the Solar Gap

The District of Columbia has enjoyed 15 years of strong economic growth. But prosperity is spread unevenly across the...

Sell Through Hypothesis

You first learned to hypothesize, or make educated guesses, in grade school science class. Now it’s time to ref...

Cronimet / THEnergy study: In solar for mines size does not always matter - Reducing CAPEX with energy efficiency and load shifting

Munich, September 2015. Mining companies are constantly gaining interest in solar solutions because frequently solar ...

Final Program Now Available for GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo - Final Program from

FINANCIAL NEWS

Former associate editor for Power Engineering magazine where I used to EPA's regulations for the power industry in detail. For renewables, I write about solar and wind-related policies and technologies. I'm a native of Tulsa, Okla. with a bac...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

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

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

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

There is now 128.8 GW of installed wind energy capacity in the EU (appro...

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

COMPANY BLOGS

Sell Through Hypothesis

You first learned to hypothesize, or make educated guesses, in grade sch...

Final Program Now Available for GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal...

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo - Final Program f...

Vacancy? No Problem!

Have you ever tried to sell an efficiency product or service to a prospe...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS