US wind industry seeks clean energy push from Biden

By Patrick Zemanek

The US wind industry wants president-elect Joe Biden to make a national clean energy mandate one of his top policy priorities next year.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) this week outlined the policies it thinks will help the new administration and Congress meet Biden’s goal of a zero-emission power sector by 2035, with a clean energy standard at the top of the list. The group is also proposing regulatory and legislative actions to accelerate the build-out of new transmission lines, faster permitting for renewable energy projects and other policy changes the industry says will level the playing field for wind energy.

“America begins this new decade with the chance to shape an affordable, thriving energy future defined by clean electricity,” AWEA chief executive Tom Kiernan said. “Our country’s leaders must now move forward with bold, sensible policies to create that future, or risk leaving hundreds of thousands of new jobs and hundreds of billions in investments behind.”

Biden campaigned on transitioning the power sector to 100pc clean energy by 2035, as part of a broader effort to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The president-elect could get off to a strong start with executive orders to make the 2035 target part of national policy, while also committing the federal government to using renewables for 35pc of its electricity by 2025 and establish permitting targets for public lands that include 30GW of renewables by 2030, AWEA said.

Additionally, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management should aim to approve at least 12.5GW of offshore wind by 2025 and 25GW by 2030.

The new president should also push for legislation to enact a national clean energy mandate, with could be supplemented by carbon pricing to address other sectors of the US economy such as transportation, AWEA said.

It may be difficult for Biden to convince Congress to pass climate legislation, whether Republicans ultimately control the Senate or not. Some industry analysts believe the new administration’s best shot for success would be a technology-agnostic clean energy standard, as supporting nuclear and potentially carbon-capture technologies could garner support from both sides of the aisle.

But even then, its prospects would be murky at best.

In addition to the national energy mandate, AWEA says the Biden administration should work to expand interstate transmission, requiring the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to overhaul the regional planning process to ensure projects are selected according to the lowest costs and highest reliability. It should also expedite the federal permitting process, which has already caused several delays to the burgeoning offshore wind sector.

And there are a number of market changes and tax incentives that would make renewables more competitive. Those include overhauling the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) and extending the investment tax credit to offshore wind and standalone storage projects.

This article appeared on the Argus Media website at https://www.argusmedia.com/en/news/2161712-us-wind-industry-seeks-clean-energy-push-from-biden