facebook linkedin twitter

Hickenlooper Pitches New FERC Authority To Help Biden’s Clean Energy Plan

September 16, 2021 by Daniel Mollenkamp
Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON- The economic impact of the switch to clean energy may have the chance to make the transition a truly bipartisan issue, according to Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.

During an event Tuesday hosted by the Public Policy Institute on expanding power line capacity to enable renewable energy deployment, Hickenlooper described himself as “optimistic” that current discussions in the Senate can lead to transformative change around climate issues. 

“By investing in transmission and the grid, we’re going to get a level of resiliency that, based on what we’ve seen this year, is sorely lacking in the existing system,” he said.

He made the case for a proposal he co-sponsored that he says would give clean energy some parity with how natural gas operates in the country, offering one way of catalyzing the changes needed to fulfill the Biden administration’s climate agenda.

The Biden clean energy plan, which has been described as potentially one of the “most aggressive ever enacted by the federal government,” proposed to move the country away from dirty energy.

The White House has said it plans to shift the country to “100% carbon-free electricity by 2035” in a fact sheet related to its multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure proposal.

It was part of the administration’s vow to reduce the country’s greenhouse emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 and has been frequently described as the centerpiece of its climate plan by commentators. 

In 2020, about 40% of electricity in the U.S. came from natural gas while renewable sources contributed about 21%, according to a congressional fact sheet. Projections released earlier this year by the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggest that 33-57% of the country’s electricity in 2050 would come from renewable sources.

About 30 states and the District of Columbia already had a clean energy standard as of 2020, according to the fact sheet.

A report published in February by the National Academy of Arts and Sciences said that deep decarbonization is “technologically feasible,” but it will take a big shift to the energy system. 

One of the changes needed is a proposal to give new federal authority, according to Hickenlooper.

He argued in favor of a bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Rep.Mike Quigley, D-Ill., which aims to smooth out the regulatory process for the switch to clean energy. 

That bill, the Streamlining Interstate Transmission of Electricity Act, would create a new authority at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC, which would empower it to speed up the creation of long-range, inter-regional high voltage transmission lines.

“If you believe that climate change is serious, we have to give our institutions like FERC some level of authority to aggressively solve some of these disputes and it’s got to be in real-time,” Hickenlooper said on Tuesday.

Transmission lines are essential to achieving the big picture renewable energy goals of the administration, materials from the sponsors of the bill argue.

Currently, transmission lines have to undergo “significant hurdles due to the complex and intensive coordination” between various regulatory bodies, landowners, and the industry, they say.

“The first step to scaling up renewable energy is upgrading the nation’s electric grid,” Whitehouse said in prepared materials, adding, “Our proposals would make it easier to get clean energy from the remote locations where it is often generated to the homes and businesses where it is needed.”

The act, part of a couple of bills introduced to speed along the clean transition, was introduced to the Senate in August. It would create a new eminent domain authority, a written statement from one of the bill’s sponsors said.

Hickenlooper characterized the bill as a way to both ensure the creation of transmission lines, which he described as “high priority,” and also to ensure “robust protections” for private landowners. 

During Tuesday’s event, Hickenlooper also commented that this sort of proposal will bring much-needed resiliency to American infrastructure.

In another update to the administration’s climate agenda this week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted on Tuesday to move forward the “Clean Electricity Performance Program,” following up on outlines of the Democrat’s budget reconciliation which included $150 billion for a clean energy standard. 

While some in the popular press have touted it as a way to get natural gas out of the sector, analysis from Energy Wire, an energy-focused news service owned by Politico, has claimed that natural gas could still count as clean with the targeted adoption of carbon capture and storage technologies and similar techniques.

Energy

Report: Offshore Wind Supply Chain Worth $109B Over 10 Years

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A group studying the economics of offshore wind energy in the U.S. says building and... Read More

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A group studying the economics of offshore wind energy in the U.S. says building and operating the nascent industry will be worth $109 billion to businesses in its supply chain over the next 10 years. The report by the Special Initiative... Read More

October 13, 2021
by Dan McCue
Haaland Reveals Administration Plan for Massive Expansion of Offshore Wind

BOSTON, Mass. -- Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told attendees at a wind energy conference on Wednesday that the Biden administration... Read More

BOSTON, Mass. -- Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told attendees at a wind energy conference on Wednesday that the Biden administration wants to dramatically expand the nation’s use of wind power, opening large swaths of coastal waters to wind farm development. In a speech before American Clean... Read More

October 7, 2021
by Reece Nations
Analysts Ask Congress to Expand Clean Energy Tax Cuts to Nuclear Energy

WASHINGTON — Senior analysts from the Breakthrough Institute circulated a letter on Thursday compelling Congressional leaders to extend federal clean-energy... Read More

WASHINGTON — Senior analysts from the Breakthrough Institute circulated a letter on Thursday compelling Congressional leaders to extend federal clean-energy tax credits to advanced nuclear energy. Breakthrough Institute's Jameson McBride, senior climate and energy analyst, and Adam Stein, senior nuclear analyst, jointly authored the letter in... Read More

October 6, 2021
by Dan McCue
General Motors, GE Sign MOU to Develop Joint EV and Renewable Energy Supply Chains

DETROIT - General Motors and GE Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of the General Electric Co., have signed an agreement to... Read More

DETROIT - General Motors and GE Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of the General Electric Co., have signed an agreement to develop supply chains supporting the manufacturing of electric vehicles and renewable energy equipment. What both companies are calling a “non-binding memorandum of understanding” in a statement... Read More

Ship Anchor Suspected in Pipeline Break That Fouled Beaches

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An anchored cargo ship in the Pacific is not a fixed point — it's different than... Read More

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An anchored cargo ship in the Pacific is not a fixed point — it's different than parking a car. Even then, with a multi-ton anchor and brawny steel chains resting on the seabed, the massive vessels can move from shifting winds, ocean... Read More

October 4, 2021
by Dan McCue
City of Salem Poised to Become Massachusetts’ Second Offshore Wind Port

SALEM, Mass. - Vineyard Wind, the joint venture seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind farm off the U.S.... Read More

SALEM, Mass. - Vineyard Wind, the joint venture seeking to build the first large-scale offshore wind farm off the U.S. coast has entered into a tentative agreement with the City of Salem, Massachusetts and the Crowley Maritime Corp. to build the state’s second port dedicated to... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top