Clean Energy Standard Stalls in Senate Committee
Republican and Democratic leadership in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have reached an impasse on the creation of a clean energy standard (CES).
President Obama proposed a CES during his State of the Union address that would require utilities to produce 80% "clean energy" by 2035.
He proposed it as a compromise to get Republican support – his definition of clean energy includes nuclear power and natural gas in addition to renewable energy.
However, Lisa Murkowski the ranking Republican on the Senate committee took it step further – she wants the CES to replace the EPA’s pending greenhouse gas emissions, a top aide said.
Democratics have already compromised from their original Renewable Energy Standard, which would cover only pure renewables. They see this as one more way the Republicans continue to try to stifle the EPA’s regulatory authority.
House Republicans Want to Strip Cleantech Funding
Meanwhile, two of the most beneficial federal programs for the cleantech sector could disappear by the end of the year due to opposition from House Republicans.
The US Treasury grant program is set to expire at year end unless the House agrees to an extension. The program gives renewable energy project developers grants for 30% of their project costs up front, rather than 30% tax credits after the completion of the projects.
The program saved renewable energy development in the US when the credit market became very tight in 2009, and it continues to be crucial to the industry. But Republicans want to scrap the program.
The other program on the chopping block is the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program, which has provided nearly $35 million in support to solar, wind and geothermal projects. The department says the program has created 68,000 clean energy jobs, but with no new funding in sight, it is set to end on October 1.
ICLEI’s Chávez Running for US House of Representatives
Martin Chávez, executive director of ICLEI USA, plans to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 as a Democrat from New Mexico.
ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) is a membership association of local governments in the US committed to advancing climate protection and sustainable development.
Chávez is a former three-term mayor of Albuquerque, NM and will be running in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. He says he hopes to make an impact on federal climate and energy policy.
During his tenure at ICLEI USA, Chávez furthered the development of the STAR Community Index, the nation’s first sustainability framework and rating system for communities, and strongly championed the rights of local governments to run property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing programs.
Michael Schmitz, ICLEI USA’s California Director, will take over as interim Executive Director.
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