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Utility Dive: With Biden headed to the White House, solar advocates aim to turn wish lists into practical policy goals

Posted by Emma Penrod on Nov 18, 2020

Utility Dive covered the potential changes to solar energy policy under a Biden administration, quoting AEE's J.R. Tolbert. Read excerpts below and the full piece here.

With Biden set to assume office in January pending certification of the election results, SEIA and other solar advocates have begun to hash out their plans for the next four years, including actions they hope to see in early 2021...

Overall, Hopper said, SEIA has set goals for solar to comprise 20% of U.S. electrical generation by 2030 — a goal she said would create 600,000 new jobs and offset electric sector emissions by 35%...

J. R. Tolbert, managing director of Advanced Energy Economy, said he sees paths by which the solar industry could achieve its goals for rapid growth under the Biden administration, even if potential friction in the Senate requires a more pragmatic policy approach.

“There are a bunch of things that can happen,” he said. “I think there are things that can happen legislatively, and utilizing the president's executive authority and the current role of legislative agencies to make sure that solar has an enormous role to play as we moved toward a clean energy future.”

Tolbert agreed with SEIA about the importance of FERC appointments to improve transmission planning and ensure that solar gets a fair shake on U.S. energy markets. FERC could even play a role in the implementation of carbon pricing, he said.

Many other seemingly small policy measures could have substantial impact on the industry, Tolbert said — for example, establishing direct pay tax incentives for solar projects that have started or will begin in the next few years as a means of COVID-19 recovery.

Stimulus funds dedicated to the solar industry would be a good investment on the part of the federal government because solar projects are fast to market, labor intensive and put people back to work quickly, Tolbert said. 

“There is an industry that is poised to lead our economic recovery,” he said, “and that's the clean energy industry.”

Read the entire Utility Dive piece here.

Topics: AEE In The News