Today, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL-1) released a “Green Real Deal” resolution in response to the Democratic proposal authored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14). The introduction of each proposal marks a significant shift in the focus on advanced energy at the federal level. Over the previous 24 months, the advanced energy industry spent much time and energy – often with a coalition of unusual allies – beating back proposals that would have provided out-of-market payments to uneconomic power plants to the tune of $34 billion. Fast forward to today, and both parties are putting forward visions on federal energy policy with advanced energy at the center. Neither is going to become law any time soon. Rather, they represent starting points in a discussion that will take place over the coming years. Here’s what each of these starting points contain for advanced energy.In our January post on the Green New Deal (GND), we mentioned two aspects as important for understanding the potential impact: arrival of a House Democratic majority with progressive stars who were drawing widespread attention, and the actual details of the proposal, which were not at all clear at the time. Three months later, introduction of House Resolution 109 provided new details on what the GND actually would mean for the advanced energy industry.
In short, the GND calls for a massive transformation of the energy system, addressing generation, efficiency, industrial processing, and all modes of transportation. Notably, the resolution expanded its definition from initial conversations to include all carbon-free resources in a transition to a 100% “clean, renewable, and zero-emission” energy future. Originally, both hydro and nuclear were thought to not be eligible.
As we said in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we support calls for action to increase the use of certain advanced energy technologies rapidly by 2030, but the most cost-effective way to achieve climate goals is by using a broad set of advanced energy technologies and services. Investment in advanced energy technologies across the board can achieve multiple goals, including job creation, protecting communities, increasing resilience, and prioritizing fairness and economic opportunity for those most affected by climate impacts.
As the Green New Deal gained national attention, we also wondered what the response of the Republican Party would be, recognizing that certain center-right groups were advocating for clean energy solutions to climate change, such as Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, the R Street Institute, ClearPath, and the recently formed Clean Capitalist Coalition (of which AEE is a founding organization).
So now we have our answer: the Green Real Deal. While positioned as a direct counter to the Democrats’ gambit, the Green Real Deal offers numerous ideas that rely on using advanced energy technologies to provide reduction in carbon emissions. Notably, the resolution calls for “eliminating regulations that hinder or slow the deployment of advanced energy, and creating a regulatory climate to encourage the use of clean, renewable, and innovative energy” technologies. We applaud this, as AEE has long advocated for technology-neutral wholesale markets that allow all resources to compete based on price and performance.
As discussions move forward on both sides of the aisle, we encourage Congress to recognize the legacy rules that give preference to older and more inefficient traditional power plants instead of newer, more flexible, and innovative advanced energy technologies and services. Congress should embrace updated rules to allow advanced energy to compete, which will enable a more affordable, reliable, and clean grid. While Congressional Democrats have previously urged FERC in this direction, we are glad to see the Green Real Deal provide bipartisan support for reducing barriers to advanced energy technologies in wholesale markets.
Each of these resolutions represents a step in the right direction. Both the GND and GRD envision modernizing the energy system in a way that relies on advanced energy technologies and the benefits that come from them, including a more affordable, reliable, and clean grid, as well as cleaner transportation options. While we are long way from legislation heading to the President’s desk, we welcome where the discussion has started and look forward to continuing the dialogue, as we pursue all our priorities with the 116th Congress, which are available by clicking below.