On September 16, 2020, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee held a hearing to consider the nominations of Mark Christie and Allison Clements to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Manchin focused their preliminary comments on the importance of ensuring that FERC has a full complement of five Commissioners and expressed interest in acting quickly to move through the confirmation process. However, there was no indication of the specific timing of the Senate ENR and floor votes that would be required to confirm the nominees. Several Senators praised both Christie and Clements, and no Senator expressed opposition to the nominees, though Clements received a few pointed questions from Senators Gardner and Lee about her time at the Natural Resources Defense Council.Read More
SFC ranking member Wyden and 25 other Democrats (including minority leader Schumer) introduced tech-neutral energy legislation this week. The bill includes energy storage provisions. Following is a summary followed by summaries pertaining to energy storage. The legislation would consolidate 44 energy incentives into three tech-neutral provisions to promote energy independence and a low-carbon economy. All of the original co-sponsors are Democrats. The roll out of the legislation was accompanied by supporting statements from about a dozen supporting organizations.Read More
The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently released its 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report summarizing the accomplishments of the U.S. wind energy industry. The full report can be found here. Compared to the record-setting 13 GW of new operating wind projects in 2012, 2013 was clearly an off-year, with only a little over 1 GW of new wind energy capacity added. One of the major reasons for this dramatic fall-off was the expiration of the federal income tax production tax credit (PTC) at the end of 2012, which created a land rush of projects being placed in service at end of year 2012, depleting the project pipeline for 2013. The revival of the PTC in 2013 was too late to stimulate significant project completion in 2013. The good news is that because projects that commenced construction by the end of 2013 will qualify for the PTC, a flood of wind projects will be placed in service in 2014 and 2015. The boom and bust cycle of PTC driven wind project development continues.
Last Thursday, July 3rd, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued its finalized loan guarantee solicitation for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. DOE made $2.5 billion in loan guarantee authority directly available through the solicitation, but indicated that an expansion of this financing up to $4 billion is possible depending on how much it can stretch an appropriated credit subsidy on applications. This suite of loan guarantees has been a highly sought after item as Secretary Ernest Moniz and other DOE officials have repeatedly stressed the Department’s focus on renewable and energy efficiency research and financing. DOE support for research and investment in these areas can be seen as an extension of the President’s Climate Action Plan, as the Administration strives to cut carbon emissions. Read More