Next week kicks off National Clean Energy Week (NCEW). Among the festivities that week, CRES will recognize its 2019 Clean Energy Champions, a group of Republicans who have demonstrated steadfast leadership in promoting commonsense, clean energy policies that sustain the vitality of our economy, foster advanced energy development, and support environmental stewardship. But first we would like to take a moment to focus in on last year’s recipients as they’ve all been busy again this year doing the hard work in the name of a strong clean energy future.
We named U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) as a Clean Energy Champion for forwarding the conversation on renewables in her state and the nation as a whole. She serves as Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where she promotes developing energy technologies. Acting as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Murkowski helped to ensure the FY18 budget included funding for new energy research.
This year, Senator Murkowski continues to provide national leadership on clean energy. She furthers clean energy opportunities in her work at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by examining topics like nuclear energy (NELA), the expanded deployment of grid-scale energy storage and innovative energy solutions to reduce domestic and global greenhouse gas emissions.
U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) has been a key advocate for clean energy in his state, which has already grown tremendously and added nearly 3,000 solar jobs following the landmark State Distributed Energy Resource Program Act of 2014. This year, South Carolina passed the Energy Freedom Act, which expanded net metering in the Palmetto State and allows larger energy consumers to work with renewable energy suppliers directly.
Senator Scott’s influence on clean energy development will be more important than ever became Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure. Senator Scott also co-sponsored the Strengthening Investment to Grow Manufacturing in America (SIGMA) Act, which would support American manufacturers through increasing affordable loans, incentivizing operation growth, and expanding financial resources and education assistance to small manufacturers, including many in the clean energy sector.
U.S. Representative Tom Reed (NY-23) fit the bill as a 2018 Clean Energy Champion by standing up for clean energy on Capitol Hill. He was the lead sponsor of the POWER Act, aimed at creating jobs and reducing energy consumption. He also co-sponsored the Roofing Efficiency Jobs Act to promote job creation and reduce energy bills for business and consumers.
Lately, Representative Reed has been bolstering the excitement for renewable energy development in his home state. Recently, he visited an Olean-based solar electric system called the Homeridae Project to give his support.
“We’ve seen these projects like these across the district, and sitting on the Ways and Means Committee where we’re becoming the Republican alternative energy individuals, we are really supportive of the tax credits that make these sorts of projects work,” said Reed during the visit.
We recognized U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY21) as a Clean Energy Champion last year due to her work in Congress, like ensuring the FY18 budget set aside funding for important DoE research and co-sponsoring the POWER Act, which included tax credits to develop wind and solar power.
Representative Stefanik has been at it again with new legislation aimed at extending tax credits for renewable energy. The Renewable Electricity Tax Credit Equalization Act targets investments in qualified renewable energy production and extends the tax credits allotted for these investments, forwarding innovative technology like open-loop biomass and geothermal.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert is one of the state leaders whose designation as a Clean Energy Champion was well-deserved. He’s been tackling the hard questions on energy and climate in Utah, and it has won him support from both sides of the aisle.
Recently Governor Herbert signed 15 clean air bills into law to celebrate this year’s National Earth Day. The bills laid out a comprehensive plan to clean up Utah, including funding to replace polluting word-burning stoves and funding to increase the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan earned his spot as a Clean Energy Champion last year by leading a flagship administration that is redefining the Republican stance on clean energy. Under his leadership, Maryland renewed its commitment to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and put forth a state budget that included key provisions to address climate change in Maryland.
Building off his previous work, Governor Hogan recently signed Executive Order 01.01.2019.09, which establishes the Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting. The task force will give recommendations on where to locate new solar and wind energy projects in Maryland. CRES Forum Director of Policy and Advocacy Charles Hernick recently wrote an op-ed in Maryland Matters praising the Governor for his Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES).
Through the work of individuals like our 2018 Clean Energy Champions, America’s energy sector will continue to transition away from fossil fuels by utilizing innovative technology and free-market completion. Make sure to check back soon for more National Clean Energy Week updates, including our announcement of this year’s CRES Clean Energy Champions.