Over the next two weeks, leaders from around the world will convene in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP21. This year, there is renewed, if cautious optimism about the possibility of a binding agreement among governments to act on this critical global issue.
But there’s another side to the climate change story that’s being written not in parliaments or at diplomatic summits, but in boardrooms and corporate executive suites.
In late September, I traveled to Virginia’s Eastern Shore to join Governor Terry McAuliffe and other state and local officials for his announcement of the Commonwealth’s issuance of its first permit for a new 80 megawatt solar facility that will be constructed in Accomack County. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has partnered with Community Energy to build the new installation — Amazon Solar Farm US East — and the project is expected to more than quadruple the amount of solar energy currently installed in Virginia. In his announcement, Governor McAuliffe said: “The partnership between Community Energy and Amazon Web Services, which will result in the largest solar facility in the mid-Atlantic, is indicative of the types of opportunities that my Administration is working toward through our commitment to build a new Virginia economy.”
I was speaking with a friend the other day when she asked, “What’s going on with renewable energy tax extenders this year? Are the PTC and ITC going to be extended?” As we know, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) expired at the end of 2014 and the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) will expire at the end of 2016. That’s in addition to a dozen other energy credits affecting biofuels, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency that have also expired.