Public Officials and Industry Leaders Examine Challenges and Opportunities
WASHINGTON, March 16, 2017 – A diverse mix of elected leaders, senior congressional staffers, industry executives, investors and renewable energy advocates convened at the National Renewable Energy Policy Forum to discuss the most significant policy and finance issues facing the renewable energy industry in the context of a new political alignment.
The annual conference, hosted by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) featured a broad range of speakers who provided expert insights on the potential impacts of tax reform legislation on renewable energy growth, new measures to promote infrastructure investment, regulatory changes and shifts in state electricity markets.
The prospect of major tax reform later this year was a hot topic throughout the day and featured prominently in opening keynote remarks by U.S. Representative Tom Reed (R-NY).
When asked about the potential for alterations to the scheduled phase-down of the investment tax credit (ITC) and production tax credit (PTC) wind and solar incentives, Rep. Reed noted that “while there’s no guarantee in Washington, the industry is in a good spot of strength.”
From his perspective, as a key member of the House Ways and Means committee, Rep. Reed told industry attendees that “we’re going to be a supportive voice for the ITC and PTC through tax reform.” Reed underscored his support for an all-of-the-above energy strategy by calling for “a common tax policy that promotes innovation and the next generation of clean and secure energy.”
During the afternoon keynote address, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) echoed the sentiments of his colleague regarding the important renewable energy tax policies while also acknowledging general uncertainty on Capitol Hill as the new Congress takes on broad ranging issues such as comprehensive tax reform, infrastructure investment and health care reform. He implored attendees to remind their colleagues that it is important to advance renewable energy, climate and other progressive policies noting that “we can’t repeal technology, we can’t repeal economics, and we can’t repeal science.”
The President of the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), Michael Picker, spoke of the critical role that renewable energy will play in California’s aggressive approach to reducing greenhouse emissions. Already the nation’s largest market for renewable energy, he explained that the state is looking to rely almost entirely on renewables for its power generation, and is also working to dramatically increase electrification of California’s economy, including through the displacement of fossil fuels in the transportation sector. Picker noted that “renewables have become an important commodity and we’re moving away from a model that just counts renewables to a model where resource planning is based on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”
In discussing how western grid integration could expand the use of renewable energy while also lowering costs and enhancing reliability, Picker remarked “the tremendously dynamic and variable performance of renewables means we have to rethink both procurement and the grid itself. To meet a reliability standard, we probably need to have more of a regional presence, particularly east to west.”
Reflecting on the whole of the Policy Forum, ACORE’s President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Wetstone commented that “the informed discussions at the Policy Forum will help the renewable industry establish a path forward that is both realistic and ambitious. As a national driver of economic growth and a mainstream source of cost-effective electric power, we are well positioned to ensure continuation of the sector’s rapid expansion.”
For photographs of the event, please visit ACORE’s Flickr.
The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing value to the renewable energy industry through market development, policy changes, and financial innovation. With hundreds of member companies from across the spectrum of renewable energy technologies, consumers, and investors, ACORE is uniquely positioned to promote the policies and financial structures essential to growth in the renewable energy sector. The organization’s annual conferences in Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco set the industry standard in providing important venues for key leaders to meet, discuss recent developments, and hear the latest from senior government officials and seasoned experts.
Anna Hahnemann, ACORE