An obscure Washington policy group that opposes almost any government aid for renewable energy has emerged as an influential force in shaping Donald Trump’s plans to dismantle Obama administration climate initiatives.
The tiny Institute for Energy Research and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance, work from an office decorated with an oversized photo of an oil derrick in a nondescript building in downtown Washington. Their names aren’t even on display in the unmanned lobby nine floors below.
But the modest trappings and small 14-member staff belie their impact.
"There’s not a material energy or environmental policy in which they are not involved -- and most of them, they own," said Michael McKenna, a lobbyist who advises the alliance.RTO Insider: Supporters Seek to Overturn Maryland Governor’s Increased RPS Veto
Sponsors of a bill to increase Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard joined environmental advocates Jan. 5 in calling for the General Assembly to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto.
Rallying on the steps of the Maryland State House, Sen. Brian Feldman and Delegate Bill Frick, both Democrats representing Montgomery County, attempted to link Hogan’s veto of the measure -- dubbed the Clean Energy Jobs Act -- to the anti-environmental sentiment of President-elect Donald Trump.
“We’re here because the administration decided to play politics,” Frick said.
Hogan vetoed the bill last year because it would increase rates to cover the costs of additional wind and solar generation.APNewsBreak: U.S. Yanks Funds From Unbuilt Windmill Farm
A plan to build windmills off the New Jersey coast that has already burned through nearly $11 million and remains dead in the water is being cut off from further government funding.
The department is revoking most of the $47 million in funding it pledged to the project in 2014; about $10.6 million has been spent already on preliminary work.
The project would have involved building six windmills about 3 miles off the coast of Atlantic City, which could have generated enough electricity to power 15,000 homes.
"Under the Energy Department's award, Fishermen's Energy must have secured a power offtake agreement by December 31 to be eligible for another round of funding," the department said. "The criteria were not met by that date, so we have initiated the close-out process for the project."NRDC: As Clean Energy Grows, Electricity Markets Must Evolve
As 2016 fades away in the rearview mirror, we reflect on a year of increasing tensions between the wholesale electricity markets -- where utilities and other power suppliers purchase, sell, and trade energy to meet our energy needs -- and our ever-growing appetite for cleaner, carbon-free power. The need to optimize these markets to support a transforming electric grid is likely to come into sharper focus in 2017.
So, what is the source of these tensions? They arise when power markets devalue the energy from the growing levels of wind, solar and other clean energy resources. Doing so can increase the price of electricity because the markets are procuring more electricity than necessary to meet our power needs. Problems also occur because power markets focus solely on price, and don’t value other benefits like less pollution.
In short, clean energy resources are quickly becoming the most affordable and dominant resources on the system, so markets need to adapt to reflect their value rather than discriminating against them.