Congress has spent a significant chunk of the new year focused on a bipartisan energy bill, which, if passed, would be the first broad bipartisan energy package in nearly ten years. The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012), which cleared, 18-4, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last summer, includes, among other things, language to increase energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy infrastructure, and grid security, as well as to impose deadlines on the Department of Energy to make final decisions on natural gas exports, permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and expedite the licensing process for hydropower projects.
The Clean Power Plan, meanwhile, continues to come under fire, as 29 states and state agencies as well as numerous industry groups filed petitions January 26 with the Supreme Court asking the court to reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s January 21 decision not to stay the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. In state news, the California Public Utilities Commission extended January 29 the state’s net metering program for another four years. Existing solar owners will maintain the right to sell excess power back to the grid for four years and new owners will be able to participate in the program after paying a one-time fee. For more on the latest energy happenings, read this week's update from ML Strategies.