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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

December 17, 2015

Landmark exports deal was months in the making

Geof Koss, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2015-12-17 06:38:56

After years of legislative gridlock on energy policy, Congress is on the verge of approving a historic compromise giving both parties key wins in what has become a ceaseless war of attrition between fossil fuels and renewable interests. The blockbuster omnibus and tax package that could be signed into law as early as this weekend would repeal the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports, while also extending for five years the renewable production and investment tax credits for wind and solar — sectors that are booming in response to climate change and falling costs but have been slowed by uncertainty over their on-again, off-again tax credits. [ read more … ]

Lawmakers negotiate end to export ban, throw out major riders

Manuel Quiñones, Geof Koss and Phil Taylor, E&E reporters  •    •  Posted 2015-12-17 06:40:02

The language would extend the production tax credit (PTC) at 100 percent for 2015 and 2016, while reducing its value by 20 percent each successive year until 2020. The legislation would extend the investment tax credit (ITC), which allows developers to write off 30 percent of the cost of a solar facility, at that level for three years, while shrinking the allowance to 26 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021. Democrats scored a victory by winning a modification to the ITC that will allow facilities to qualify for the credit when they “commence construction” rather than when they begin to produce power. [ read more … ]

Deal leaves winners cheering, losers licking wounds

Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2015-12-17 06:40:34

While the spending package boosted funding for fossil and nuclear research, programs for wind and solar were not so lucky. The omnibus provided about $2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy, including a total of $241 million for solar and about $95 million for wind power. “As the deal stands, at 88 percent of 2015 budget levels and 66 percent of the budget proposed by the administration, $95 million is still short of what is needed to support the critical technology R&D work and other areas of [DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy] wind program,” said John Anderson, American Wind Energy Association senior director for permitting and environmental affairs issues. [ read more … ]

Budget Deal Bill Boosts Oil Exports, Renewable Energy

By The Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2015-12-17 06:41:10

Wind and solar advocates said five-year renewals of their tax breaks would provide needed certainty to spur further growth. “This plan will drive more development, and near-term prospects look strong as utilities, major customers and municipalities seek more low-cost, emissions-free renewable energy,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, an industry group. A five-year extension of the solar-tax credit will lead to more than $125 billion in new private sector investment and add as many as 140,000 jobs, said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. [ read more … ]

Energy spending would get big boost in omnibus

Hannah Northey, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2015-12-17 06:41:31

The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee portion of the omnibus includes $37.2 billion, $3 billion above 2015 enacted levels and more than $1 billion above the president’s request. Within that pot of money, the Department of Energy would see an almost $800 million increase for energy programs, helping to boost the agency’s total budget to $29.7 billion [ read more … ]

Goldman Sachs report sees renewable energy replacing fossil fuels

By Jonathan H Harsch, Agri-Pulse Communications   •    •  Posted 2015-12-17 06:41:50

The report calls the shift “not the beginning of the end for fossil fuels” but instead “marks the end of the beginning for the low carbon economy.” It points out that oil, gas and coal still “generate two-thirds of electricity, power over 75 percent of industry, and fuel 95 percent of the global transport fleet.” But the report adds that “public pressure to find ways to reduce” fossil fuel use is increasing, as demonstrated by the 196-nation global climate agreement finalized in Paris on Saturday. [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.