What is energy management?
By JENNIFER TAYLOR The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) The Obama administration is moving quickly to rewrite regulations that govern how many homes and businesses can use energy from solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable sources, while making it harder for utilities to build new coal-fired power plants.
The Energy Department says it’s reviewing its solar program, which provides more than half of the country’s solar electricity.
The program’s goal is to meet the goals of a 2015 rule that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030.
The rule is expected to be finalized by late September.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the rule change Wednesday.
It’s the latest sign that the Obama administration plans to use its energy power to fight climate change and push utilities to switch to renewables.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We will not be the first generation to say that climate change is real and it’s caused by human activity,” Moniz said.
“But I will tell you this: If we don’t take action, we are going to have a real problem.”
Energy companies that buy power from utilities, such as coal-burning power plants and gas-fired plants, are exempt from the rule.
They have to install renewable energy to meet energy needs.
But Moniz is expected not to reverse the rule until after the election in November.
Energy experts say the move could cost the industry millions of dollars in upfront costs and could stymie investment.
The rule change comes as the Trump administration is also trying to roll back the Clean Power Plan, which aims to curb carbon emissions from coal- and gas.
The Clean Power plan would require utilities to cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and reduce their greenhouse gas output by 26 percent by 2025.
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued more than 700 draft rules to regulate the industry, many of which have not yet been final.
Moniz also announced a rule in January aimed at helping the energy industry adapt to a changing energy landscape, including new technologies.
The administration also is reviewing a rule issued in January by the Obama-era Labor Department that requires utilities to install solar panels at least 30 percent of the time on their buildings.
That rule has been challenged by the utility industry and other groups.
The rules, which the White House said were aimed at making it easier for the industry to meet its 2030 emissions targets, are also being reviewed by the Commerce Department.
Monoz says the department is reviewing whether they’re too burdensome on the utility.