Both the Senate and the House made progress on their respective updates to 2005’s Energy Policy Act this week. The general press has focused mainly on the fact that the long-term ban on oil exports was not lifted (which doesn’t necessarily mean a lift of the ban is dead). However the absence of support for renewable distributed energy resources was equally stark in the eyes of renewable energy advocates.
Some speculate that support for renewable energy resources may be added during the legislative revision process; some have even posited that an extension to the 30% solar investment tax credit could end up in this legislation after it went unaddressed in the tax extenders bill recently released by the Senate Finance Committee. Also, certain aspects of a more distributed generation-focused future, including efficiency, a smart grid and microgrid technologies, are more specifically addressed.
That said, the lack of specific support for solar, wind and other generation sources in a document that underpins what is ostensibly an “all of the above” approach to national energy policy will be alarming for renewable energy advocates.
The Senate version can be found here. The House version can be found here. While pundits expect a relatively easy preliminary reconciliation process given the similarity of the two versions, it is less clear when final legislation might actually be put to vote.