Congress Focuses on Clean and Renewable Energy

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Over the last two weeks, Congress’ spotlight was on clean and renewable energy. The Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the House Committee on Energy & Commerce held hearings on the topic. Last week, the House passed H.R. 4447, the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act. The Senate hearing focused on offshore energy technologies such as offshore wind, marine hydrokinetic energy, and alternative fuels for maritime shipping; the House Committee on Natural Resources hearing focused on the Trump Administration’s “all the above” energy strategy and discussed the need for more government support for clean energy; and the House Committee on Energy & Commerce hearing highlighted the need to improve clean energy access, affordability, and equity for lower-income neighborhoods and households.

Meanwhile, the House passed an 894-page, $135 billion clean energy and jobs package, H.R. 4447, the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act. The bill passed 220 – 185, with seven Republicans voting yes and 18 Democrats voting no. The bill includes provisions to modernize the nation’s electric grid, voluntary building codes, a home energy savings retrofit rebate program, additional funding for the Advanced Research Projects-Energy Agency, $36 billion for transportation electrification, authorizes record investments in clean energy technologies, and expands clean energy workforce development programs. ASCE supports the development of clean and renewable energy sources while encouraging energy conservation and efficiency.

The White House issued a veto threat to the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, and the Senate has yet to vote on its major energy package, S. 2657, the American Energy Innovation Act of 2020.

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