CFR Analysis: Budget Deal Oil-for-Renewables Trade Would Substantially Reduce Carbon Emissions

Congress is set to vote on a budget deal that would permanently end the long-standing ban on crude oil exports in exchange for temporary extensions of tax credits that support solar and wind energy. We focus on 2016-2020 for three reasons: (a) it’s the period for which we have the best data; (b) beyond 2020, complex interactions with the Clean Power Plan make things much tougher to model; and (c) most important, beyond 2020, the primary effect of the ITC/PTC extension should be to make reducing emissions cheaper, and thus enable stronger policy, something that can’t be quantitatively modeled.

Our bottom line: Extension of the tax credits will do far more to reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the next five years than lifting the export ban will do to increase them. While this post offers no judgment of the budget deal as a whole, the deal, if passed, looks like a win for climate.

National Journal: White House, Pelosi Sell Omnibus as a Climate Win, Despite Oil Concession

The White House and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are seeking to de­fuse charges that the year-end spending agreement with Capitol Hill Republicans is a raw deal for the plan­et.

The effort arrives a day be­fore House and Sen­ate votes on the omnibus pack­age, which includes a major win for the oil industry and Republicans: removing the 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude-oil ex­ports. A number of Democrats and environmental activists are balking at the provision.

The Canberra Times: ACT Gov't Subsidizes Rollout of Battery Storage for 5,000 Households

The government will subsidize the rollout of battery storage to 5,000 Canberra homes over five years in its latest push towards a target of 90 percent renewable energy by 2020.

Environment Minister Simon Corbell announced a grants program to companies offering battery storage for households and businesses with rooftop solar, beginning next year, in what he said was the largest rollout of battery storage of any city in the country.

The $20 million program will subsidise 36 MW of battery storage, allowing people with rooftop solar to store energy to use at night or at other times of low solar generation, and will allow them also to sell power back into the grid.

Arizona Star: Embattled Arizona Utility Regulator Decides to Quit

Saying the allegations against her have become a “distraction,” state utility regulator Susan Bitter Smith said Thursday that she is stepping down.

Bitter Smith continued to insist she has not violated conflict-of-interest laws. With her attorneys near her side at a news conference, she said that Attorney General Mark Brnovich is off-base in his bid to have the Arizona Supreme Court remove her from the Arizona Corporation Commission, of which she is chairwoman.

Bidness ETC: Tesla Motors Inc. Ready to Shed Label of Loss-Making Startup

It has been a difficult journey for the Palo Alto electric-vehicle (EV) company in electrifying the global transportation. While it would require several years to accomplish this mission, Tesla Motors is on track to achieve other milestones in the upcoming year. The introduction of new sources of income in 2015 and improving margins have increased the possibility that Elon Musk and company might shed the label of loss-making startup and transform into a multi-product, profitable company.

Bidness Etc. looks at how this transformation might actually come about.