U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has set 4 high “Day One” priorities for his incoming administration: combatting the coronavirus pandemic, restoring a faltering financial system, creating the situations for better racial equality, and taking over the “existential risk” of local weather change.
Within the days since Biden’s electoral victory over President Donald Trump was assured, this agenda has received a sequence of accolades from the clear power trade teams most probably to profit from it and to hunt to play a job in the way it takes form.
Renewable power and power storage commerce teams, suppliers of grid infrastructure and expertise, and teams representing firms dedicated to lowering their carbon footprint have issued congratulations to the incoming administration, together with their ideas on what early steps it might take to satisfy its targets.
“The President-elect and his group have laid out an bold, complete strategy to power coverage that acknowledges renewable power’s skill to develop America’s financial system and create a cleaner atmosphere, whereas retaining electrical energy prices low and combating the specter of local weather change,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Vitality Affiliation, mentioned in a Saturday assertion. “The U.S. wind sector and its rising workforce of over 120,000 Individuals stand prepared to assist put that plan into motion.”
That plan features a pledge to take government actions resembling rejoining the Paris local weather settlement, reversing Trump administration actions that weaken automotive and equipment effectivity requirements, and directing federal businesses to purchase clear energy. The Photo voltaic Vitality Industries Affiliation (SEIA) has outlined a 100-day plan that features quite a lot of government actions, resembling elevated renewable power improvement on public lands and photo voltaic adoption by federal businesses and buildings.
With management of the U.S. Senate nonetheless awaiting the outcomes of January runoff elections for Georgia’s two Senate seats, it’s unclear if Democrats may have a majority in each homes of Congress to beat Republican opposition to extra bold agenda objects, resembling Biden’s $2 trillion plan to drive decarbonization of the power sector by 2035 and dramatically scale back emissions from transportation and buildings.
Below the chance of a cut up authorities, that plan “appears on the very least prone to be closely watered down,” Simon Flowers, chairman and chief analyst for Wooden Mackenzie, wrote in a Monday abstract of the analysis agency’s outlook on the worldwide power affect of a Biden administration.
Nonetheless, there stays lots that a Biden administration can do with out help from Republicans in Congress, Flowers famous. It could possibly order businesses to streamline and help allowing and leasing insurance policies for the practically 30 gigawatts of offshore wind tasks being deliberate on the U.S. East Coast, for instance.
The federal authorities will seemingly change into an even bigger purchaser of renewable power and electrical automobiles. And Biden can appoint a brand new chair of the Federal Vitality Regulatory Fee, and nominate substitute commissioners that might reverse choices which have created challenges for state clear power insurance policies in Jap U.S. interstate power markets.
The artwork of the attainable for bipartisan power coverage
Nonetheless, clear power teams expressed hope that actions that provided financial advantages, resembling expanded funding and favorable tax therapy for investments in constructing power effectivity, transportation electrification and expanded grid infrastructure, might win bipartisan help.
“We urge the Biden administration to work along with a carefully divided Congress to include power effectivity right into a restoration bundle, to put money into weatherizing houses and within the analysis and improvement of energy-saving applied sciences, and to pursue new bipartisan transportation and power laws,” Steven Nadel, government director of the American Council for an Vitality-Environment friendly Financial system, mentioned in a Saturday assertion.
ACEEE additionally urged the Biden administration to increase effectivity requirements for mild bulbs, home equipment and automobiles, and to push for plans to retrofit thousands and thousands of buildings and deploy half one million electrical automobile charging stations throughout the nation.
Dan Pfeiffer, vice president of authorities and regulatory affairs for grid networking expertise supplier Itron, mentioned in an announcement final week that the corporate’s high precedence is “a large funding in infrastructure…to maintain our power and water grids protected and dependable.”
After a coronavirus pandemic reduction invoice, an infrastructure stimulus bundle is prone to be the following main legislative precedence for Congress, and it might harness help from each events, trade observers agree. That would embody boosts for transmission to unlock extra photo voltaic and wind energy capability, which might garner bipartisan help from Midwestern lawmakers.
Different main priorities of the photo voltaic and wind trade could also be tougher to attain if Congress stays divided. SEIA has known as for a federal tax framework that might lengthen the photo voltaic Funding Tax Credit score that’s set to run out over the following 4 years and embody key extensions to bolster funding in tasks delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“President-elect Biden’s plan to fight local weather change permits our trade to create a whole lot of hundreds of well-paying jobs throughout the nation,” SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper mentioned in a Saturday assertion. “We look ahead to working along with his administration and Congress on insurance policies that scale back carbon emissions together with tax insurance policies that pave the way in which for better adoption of photo voltaic power and power storage.”
Tax incentives for power storage might additionally assist increase applied sciences wanted to combine the nation’s rising share of intermittent photo voltaic and wind energy. Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the U.S. Vitality Storage Affiliation, mentioned in a Saturday assertion that the group expects “to see sturdy help from the brand new administration centered on the decarbonization of the electrical and transportation sectors, which can additional drive the deployment of power storage.”
However it’s unclear if increasing the scope of tax credit, or proposals to transform these credit to direct pay or money grant choices to extend their worth to buyers, will win bipartisan backing. Likewise, extra long-term targets resembling a federal carbon pricing mechanism or clear power normal will seemingly face an uphill battle if Republicans retain their Senate majority.
“Over the long run, we’ll want to show to an bold local weather agenda that builds on state renewable requirements with a nationwide program, gives a degree taking part in discipline for clear power within the tax code, and features a main effort to broaden and improve the nation’s antiquated transmission infrastructure,” Gregory Wetstone, CEO of the American Council on Renewable Vitality, mentioned in a Monday assertion. “There’s a lengthy historical past of bipartisan help for renewable energy, and we look ahead to engaged on this agenda with policymakers on either side of the aisle.”