The wind industry is not responding well to today's news that the Senate is abandoning a comprehensive energy and climate bill and that the proposed plan from the Democrats has no provisions for renewable energy. After a Democratic Caucus meeting today, party leadership decided they just didn't have the votes to get a comprehensive package to the floor.
While the bill really has nothing in terms of directly addressing climate, it does have provisions dealing with the oil spill, energy efficiency upgrades, natural gas-powered trucking fleets, and land and water conservation.
Unfortunately for the renewables sector, there's no mention of their holy grail of policy drivers, a national renewable energy standard (RES). American Wind Energy CEO Denise Bode called the decision to let an RES die in committee "beyond comprehension." In a statement just released by AWEA Bode says:
"A bipartisan bill with a national renewable electricity standard (RES) passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee over a year ago. It is beyond comprehension that we are now hearing that the bill may never be brought to the Senate floor.
Only about 700 megawatts (MW) of wind power were added in the second quarter of 2010 and wind power installations to date this year have dropped by 54% and 69% from 2008 and 2009 levels, respectively. Manufacturing investment also continues to lag below 2008 and 2009 levels.
A refusal to pass an RES is an attack on every American worker and consumer. Not passing an RES endangers at least 360,000 jobs: 85,000 currently employed in the wind industry and the potential 274,000 additional jobs created by an RES. Workers, families, and our country demand a new energy future. That future must emphasize new strategies that embrace clean, renewable sources of energy that reduce costs, create jobs, and enhance our national security."
AWEA is not giving up hope yet, issuing a call to action urging members and wind energy advocates to call their Senators and demand for the inclusion of an RES. And while there are some indications that Democrats could try and bring climate and renewables provisions to the floor after the August recess, that is unlikely given the current political climate and the upcoming elections this fall.