This month’s Washington Update offers an extensive overview of the major legislation that has recently been introduced on Capitol Hill, as well as the big takeaways from this month’s congressional hearings related to energy policy. We also examine the ramifications of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, and highlight the Department of Energy’s latest funding announcements for three research and development projects.
Neal Martin is Senior Manager of Government Relations at ML Strategies in the firm’s Washington, DC office. He focuses on issues related to clean energy, federal appropriations, trade, and transportation and infrastructure. His clients include clean energy start-ups, large companies, and nonprofits. Neal advises clients on public policy and federal funding opportunities and helps increase his clients’ visibility and influence with decision makers at the congressional and federal agency levels.
This month’s Washington Update provides insight into a number of energy-related developments at the federal level, including President Trump’s recently proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, the Senate’s failed efforts to turn back the Obama administration’s methane rule, and several pieces of legislation related to energy efficiency.
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) recently introduced the “Clean Energy for America Act,” which aims to create a new technology neutral system for federal tax credits for clean energy, clean fuel, and energy efficiency projects. The bill would offer performance-based tax incentives for efficient homes and office buildings, and would significantly reduce carbon pollution over the next decade. Senator Wyden, also a member of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, received support from 21 Democrat co-sponsors, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). To learn more about the Clean Energy for America Act, read on!
As Republicans hold control of the executive and legislative branches, comprehensive reform of the tax code is one of their top policy priorities. While they agree on the need to reduce the corporate tax rate and reform the system, Republicans have yet to unite around a specific provision or path forward. To learn more about the legislative outlook for tax reform, read on!
As the 115th Congress gets underway, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have reintroduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, better known as Portman-Shaheen. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Al Franken (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Portman-Shaheen was introduced in the previous three congresses with bipartisan support. The bill is aimed at using low-cost tools to make it easier for private sector energy users to become more efficient while also making the country’s largest energy user – the federal government – more efficient.
The bill is focused on Buildings, Manufacturers, and the Federal Government:
Passage of a tax package is another possible item on Congress’ list for the lame duck session, which is discussed in a recent ML Strategies alert. Three dozen tax provisions are scheduled to expire December 31, about half of which pertain to energy provisions. Congress approved last December a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations and $680 billion tax extenders package and adjourned for the first session of the 114th Congress. To learn more about the tax extenders package, read on!
On September 29, 2015 the Department of Energy released the 2014-2015 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report, assessing the nation’s offshore wind potential and planned projects through June 30, 2015. The report summarizes domestic and global market developments, technology trends, and economic data with the purpose of aiding U.S. offshore wind industry stakeholders. The Report builds upon previous market reports conducted by the Navigant Consortium between 2012 and 2014, which would track U.S. wind projects that had reached an “advanced stage” of development. The 2015 Market Report not only assesses the progress of offshore wind projects in various stages but it also analyzes projects in a range of countries. To learn more about where the U.S. offshore wind industry stands in comparison to other countries as well as about domestic and global ongoing projects and expected trends, read on!
In August, the U.S. Department of Energy released its 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report. The report, released annually for the past three years, tracks American progress in wind related areas including installed capacity, prices, jobs, and technological trends, among several others. This edition contains several positive developments for U.S. wind, as last year 4,854 MW of new capacity was added, representing $8.3 billion in new investments. For a summary of the report’s major highlights, read more below:
In an ambitious and unprecedented move, Hawaii is aiming to increase its current renewable energy output of 21% to a 100% quota by 2045. The state, which carries some of the U.S.’s highest electricity costs, is riding the momentum of decreasing renewable energy prices. Legislators believe Hawaii’s abundant sunshine, wind, ocean and tidal waves, and geothermal activity make it an ideal candidate for quitting fossil fuels. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Mike Gabbard (D – West Oahu), said rather than continuing to spend up to $5 billion annually on fossil fuels, “our islands are blessed with abundant, renewable energy…we should be using these resources for the benefit of our people.”
On Tuesday, May 19, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the release of Enabling Wind Power Nationwide. The report is a comprehensive look at wind power potential across all 50 states and considers the impact of next generation wind turbines. It builds on March’s Wind Vision Report, which accounted for the economic, social, and environmental effects of expanding wind energy nationwide. Recently, wind generation has exploded – tripling its production in the last six years – and promises to play a crucial role in the American energy future. Read on for some key takeaways: