For more than a year, we at IDC Energy Insights have been predicting that a comprehensive climate/energy bill would not happen. Our reasoning was simple: With 60 senators needed for any legislation to advance, there are too many Republicans and coal state Democrats to make a cap and trade program viable. The final nail in the coffin was hammered in by the distinguished new senator from West Virginia, Carte Goodwin, announcing that he would not support any bill with cap and trade in it. Imagine that: a West
Denise Bode of the American Wind Energy Association is one of those voices, although it's not right to say that she's whispering. She's shouting at the top of her lungs for a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) of 15% by 2020. The wind industry, she claims, is dying due to legislative uncertainty, with less than 1 GW of new capacity added in the fourth quarter. That's more than a 50% decline from last year's installation numbers (although a skeptic might point out that there's more than 5 GW of wind projects in the pipeline due to be deployed over the next six months--that doesn't quite sound like the last gasps of a mortally wounded industry).
Another voice that can be heard amidst the din is that of the energy storage industry. It wants some form of the STORAGE act (as proposed by Oregon senator Ron Wyden more than a year ago) to be included in an energy-only law. While there are now different variations floating about the Beltway, most have an Investment Tax Credit of between 15 and 20% for energy storage projects. Each segment of the energy storage industry (CAES, pumped hydro, batteries, thermal, etc...) wants to also make sure that their particular technology is directly listed in the final law's wording.
One more industry contingent whose lobbyists are working sleeplessly for some Energy bill participation is the electric vehicle sector. While they differ on exactly how to create incentives for the emerging technology (the aggregators like Better Place and Coulomb want grants for large demonstration programs, while the carmakers want basic industrial subsidies), its clear that there's a big push for some form of support for vehicle electrification.
Of course, everyone else wants in on the action: solar, nuclear, natural gas and even petroleum companies are all pushing for their own agendas as some form of energy bill is rushed through Congress. It's clear that something will result from all this, but nobody knows right now what exactly it will look like.