“Making matters even more contentious, energy-related politics are seemingly in flux,” the analysts said, and “adding to this discord have been commodity price volatility and technological improvements (cheaper renewables, high efficiency turbines, fracking) that have conspired to jeopardize coal’s role as the nation’s primary electricity-generating fuel.” Complicating the outlook, “there may be a more serious problem,” the report said, namely the failure of the United States to have a consensus on whether and how to combat climate change.
Legislators in particular will be re-examining the need for renewable portfolio standards to push zero-carbon power, Eick said. Without the specter of the Clean Power Plan, they may not feel the standards are necessary, he noted. Sick said it’s likely red and blue states will diverge more on the issue of renewable energy standards under a Trump administration. Members will also review a paper from the Consumer Energy Alliance looking at subsidies for rooftop solar power. They will hear a presentation on research into carbon capture from coal plants in Wyoming.
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has begun to arrive at U.S. EPA. In an agencywide email sent this afternoon and obtained by E&E News, Shannon Kenny, the agency’s transition director, told employees that “the Presidential transition is now underway at EPA.” Transition officials designated to handle EPA by the winning 2016 presidential nominee will now be meeting with agency leaders to help smooth over the changeover from the Obama administration.
President-elect Donald Trump has added another team member to the so-called landing team expected to shepherd the Energy Department’s transition. On Friday, the transition team announced that Kelly Mitchell, a Michigan Republican and a sales account manager at Multi Automatic Tool and Supply Co., will be joining the DOE team. The landing teams are expected to interview top agency officials and help formulate a policy agenda for the new administration.
“As far as this issue on climate change — the only thing he was saying after being asked a few questions about it is, look, he’ll have an open mind about it but he has his default position, which most of it is a bunch of bunk, but he’ll have an open mind and listen to people,” Priebus said. “I think that’s what he’s saying,” he added.
But Trump’s upset victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election has cast doubt on the future of a federal tax break for renewable energy seen critical to the industry’s continued growth. Trump has never specifically called for those credits to end, but has expressed skepticism about the role of solar and wind in the U.S. energy landscape, calling both “so expensive” and blaming wind turbines for killing birds and ruining picturesque landscapes.
McConnell cited the ongoing energy work yesterday. “I would encourage colleagues on both sides to continue working together so that we can complete our work soon,” he said. Year-end funding measures also have a history of carrying tax riders. Democrats have been lobbying for months to extend allowances for renewable energy sources left out of last year’s deal. There’s also a push for expanded credits for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. Bills in both chambers have bipartisan support, including from McConnell and Rep. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
“In the D.C. Circuit, a misstep at this intermediate stage is fatal to an agency’s cause: the court will remand if the agency claimed that the statute is clear but the court concludes it is not,” authors Daniel Hemel of the University of Chicago Law School and Aaron Nielson of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School wrote Saturday in a blog post. In other words, the pair wrote, the D.C. Circuit gives an agency deference only when it has exercised its own judgment — not when the agency believes Congress controlled its interpretation.
In the race for retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D) seat in Nevada, former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) beat Rep. Joe Heck (R) by about 2 points, and a postelection survey conducted for environmental groups shows that Heck’s voting record on solar energy and ties to the Koch brothers and fossil fuel interests may have decided the race.
The presidential election results have been deemed “a disaster” for renewable energy. The presidential candidate touting empty promises for coal trumped the one advocating ambitious plans for solar. Meanwhile, Republicans retained control of the House and Senate. How can progress toward renewables be maintained under a Republican government?