The GOP may control the House, Senate and White House for the next two (and maybe four) years, but we do not think three-ways-Republican Washington is likely to significantly alter the favorable policy environment driving renewable power deployment today. The 2015 long-term federal renewable power tax credit extensions remain bullish for wind and solar buildout. Even in the context of tax reform, strong advocacy by Congressional stakeholders from “red” states makes early termination or weakening of those credits unlikely. State renewable portfolio standards – the primary driver of renewables demand – are not only intact but, in many cases, climbing towards new, more ambitious out-year targets. Indeed, despite a “fuel fight” for generation share precipitated by load stagnation, states are expanding existing programs to include emerging technologies like offshore wind and energy storage. That said, policy uncertainty surrounding electric rate design and the elimination of net metering has potential to dramatically change the value proposition for distributed energy resources. Likewise, states seeking to encourage continued operation of nuclear power plants – the latest front in the fuel fight – are stressing cooperative federalism fault lines and exacerbating 10th Amendment (and Federal Power Act) tensions.
Our coverage gauges state and federal policies governing zero-carbon generation, renewable power, storage and building and appliance efficiency. Clients receive as-needed research notes, reports and flash blasts. In addition, our monthly Regulated Energy Playbook for utility investors outlines key themes, examines recent legislative, regulatory and judicial developments and presents forward-looking assessments of coming events.
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