January 3, 2011
from AlterNet Website
What resources are used to power the electricity grid will certainly continue to be debated throughout 2011.
And what actions will be taken in the 112th Congress on electric power generation is yet to be seen, but passing a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) or any form of carbon cap and trade bill seems highly unlikely.
without the necessary federal policies to catapult the U.S. to the
world's leader in renewable energy installations and manufacturing,
solar and wind energy has the potential to significantly increase
its capacity in 2011.
However, states like Pennsylvania, whose grant incentives remain strong, will continue to reap the economic growth and job creation from investment in renewable energy projects. Investment in utility scale projects will also be impacted by state incentives typically focusing more on a state's tax structure than grant programs.
With more than 29 states having passed an RES you
would assume these states would keep the necessary incentives strong
to ensure the RES goals are obtainable, but with new political
leaders in many of these states it is hard to tell how hard they
will work to base a significant percentage of their electricity
usage on renewable energy generation.
In states where grant incentives are drying up, RECs play an enormous role in making projects financially viable. In addition to the issues associated with the fluctuating market of RECs, many states might start seeing a flooding of the REC market as large megawatt projects are installed in their state. If these large projects are eligible for the respective states REC program, it could significantly decrease the amount of distributed generation projects since these projects would not be economically viable without the revenue generated by selling RECs.
states, like New Jersey, Massachusetts and Delaware, have passed
policies to ensure this does not happen. Hopefully states like Ohio
will follow the lead put forth by other states to encourage the
installation of on-site renewable energy projects.
The impacts to Bald Eagles, Indiana Bats and other wildlife from single turbine projects is not well documented and therefore projects are delayed or withdrawn after being denied federal funding from agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development if they did not receive a green light from governmental agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Department of Natural Resources.
The contradiction here, of course, is that reliance on renewable energy generation actually improves the health of wildlife by reducing mercury pollution in the air and water.
There is no question that
proper sitting of renewable energy projects is critical to the
success of this industry, but when viable projects are derailed due
to a lack of well-defined regulations by agencies it reduces
China is now importing higher-grade, low-sulfur coal from
places like the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana and this
year's Energy Information Administration, the official energy
statistics from the U.S. government, projects China's coal
consumption doubling by 2035.
Since we have truly never paid the true cost for coal power and the industry continues to be greatly subsidized by the government, one would assume that sooner than later the price for electricity will skyrocket.
Hopefully by then we will have the right policies in
place on the state and federal level that will encourage investment
in renewable energy projects, level the playing field between
renewable and non-renewable energy generation, ignite the U.S. as a
leader in the manufacturing of renewable energy equipment and
rebuild our economy by putting people back to work by relying on
cleaner sources of fuel.
It is a time when
renewable energy developers, advocates, governmental agencies and
political leaders will need to work together to encourage the
adoption of policies that reduce our dependency on coal and
strengthen our economy.