The Weekend Wonk: Will the Supreme Court (Still) Kill Renewables?
February 14, 2016
Obviously, the passing of Antonin Scalia removes one of the Supreme Court’s biggest obstacles to a liveable planet.
Clearly this puts a whole new focus on the importance on the next POTUS- as that person may be able to appoint as many as 3 justices, and change the complexion of the Court for the better, or much, much worse… for a long time.
After listening to this discussion, I’m feeling better informed, and optimistic.
“The Energy Gang” is a podcast from Greentech Media, which I’ve excerpted here, hope they don’t mind. Jigar Shah, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and his co-hosts Stephen Lacey and Katharine Hamilton, are a fire hose of information, that feels like a blast of pure oxygen.
Segment of most interest begins at 24:28.
Important point: although a lot of people were upset with the Supreme Court action staying the Clean Power Plan regs while a court challenge is in progress, don’t forget that the court gave renewable energy a huge victory just a few weeks ago, which may ultimately
be more important in the scheme of things.
In addition, Congress recently extended renewable energy tax credits, so giving a clear signal to markets for years into the future – a hugely important spur to continued development.
Even as the solar industry faces unprecedented regulatory obstruction at the state level, its future on the federal stage has rarely been brighter. In mid-December, Congress stunned activists, solar-industry executives and investors by cutting a deal to renew billions in federal support for solar power that had been slated to expire at the end of 2016 – avoiding a “solar cliff” that could have staggered the industry.
Signed into law with the $1.8 trillion year-end budget, the solar accord extends a tax credit that offsets up to 30 percent of solar project costs – even as those costs continue to plummet. The impact is projected to be massive: 20 gigawatts of new solar power added over the next five years, nearly doubling the nation’s output.
But this freakish fit of solar bipartisanship is fragile. In no uncertain terms, the American solar industry will be on the 2016 ballot. Last year, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency finally unveiled its mechanism to curb the power sector’s carbon emissions. By 2030, the Clean Power Plan would reduce national electricity sector emissions by one-third. Under the plan, the administration projects renewables like solar will rise to 28 percent of U.S. power generation.