With great fanfare, last week five U.S. Senators introduced the latest attempt to implement some kind of national policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector, through a national clean energy standard.
The bill looks a lot like the policies that have been passed in six U.S. states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., with a 50% renewable by 2035 target and a mandate for full decarbonization of the electricity sector by 2050.
All five of the Senators who have introduced the Renewable Electricity Standard Act of 2019 are Democrats or Independents. This is not an accident. No state where the Republican Party controls either chamber of the state’s legislature or the governor’s office has passed a 100% clean energy mandate.
And in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, this bill has about as much chance of making it to the finish line as a squirrel does crossing a 12-lane highway. It will be a cold day in Hell before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) allows a bill like this to pass, even if it can make it through Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
This is not for lack of trying. Many bills to establish a federal renewable portfolio standard have been introduced, some of them by Senator Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), the lead author of this bill. And while prior to 2010 such bills were often bipartisan, following the ascendency of the Tea Party in 2010, the Republican Party has become less amenable both to any sort of regulation of environmental issues and to compromise.
This is not to say that this bill would be anything more than jousting at windmills if Democrats controlled the U.S. Senate and were sending this bill to a Democratic president. The last time that Democrats controlled both houses of the U.S. congress and the presidency in 2009, they still couldn’t pass the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill.
There is an obvious barrier to any significant climate and clean energy legislation being passed in the U.S. Senate in the person of Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), who now serves as ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. That means that even if the Democratic Party regains control of the U.S. Senate, any bill like this will still have to go through a committee chaired by a man who has strong ties to the coal industry and literally shot a gun at a climate bill in a campaign ad.
As we have stated before, until there is substantive change in the leadership of the Democratic Party, the best that renewable energy industries will be able to do are tweaks to clean energy tax policies that fall below the radar of fossil fuel-funded politicians like Murkowski and Manchin.
Other than that, what is left is symbolic acts. This includes a sort of ritual reintroduction of nearly the same legislation that has been shot down before, in what may be an attempt to wear through the barriers of the U.S. Congress, or at least expose its dysfunction.
So the roll is rolled up the hill again. For Senator Udall, this may be his last effort, as he announced this spring that he will not run for re-election in 2020.
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Do not include Puerto Rico in this list. PR is investing in gas because the government believes gas is renewable energy. This is FAKE NEWS from the PR government.
Hello Mr. Marty,
You’ve made this comment many, many times. While PR is investing in new gas, it also has a 100% clean energy mandate on the books. And we can argue about whether or not that new gas is appropriate or reasonable, but that doesn’t change the latter law.
If you continue to make the same, factually inaccurate comment over and over again, we will have no choice but to block you.
Sorry, I will ty to change the subject.Thanks.
Yeah, remember the ‘op-ed’ piece in the NYT, about how the “adults are still in the room and are watching out for the citizens”? There have been a lot of ‘things’ Trump has signed off on, that sounds bad, but hasn’t really materialized. Trump put tariffs on solar PV panels. Many of the savvy solar PV installation companies had already purchased warehouses full of panels at the old price. Now we see that some lobbying has created this hole so that bi-facial solar PV panels aren’t under the tariff. The technology is still rolling along, no matter what the industry as a whole throws in its path to change.
These electric utilities push for “legislative change”, and are in court using ratepayer monies to try and change net metering to net billing. Then, they try their hand at the “duck curve” and come up with a plan to spike electricity rates just after solar PV generation tails off at the end of the day. Now, behind the meter energy storage is becoming popular to store over generation during the day and using the power at night during the TOU “demand response” price increase for every kWh used.
The developer Mandalay Homes in Arizona has some solar PV with energy storage housing tracts going in. The Mandalay, Jasper development will have 2,900 homes at build out. Each home will have a Sonnen ecolux 10kWh ESS installed in each home’s garage. This aggregate energy storage system is designed to take off peak power from the Palo Verde Nuclear plant in the 2AM to 5AM off peak generation period. This represents around 20 to 25MWh of energy storage. This is the momentum and the future of the distributed grid, with energy storage.
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