Whether it deserves it or not, the solar energy industry can’t count on continued government largess, thanks in part to the Solyndra mess. But in the end, Solyndra’s demise might be exactly what the industry needs to wean itself off heavy subsidies and become a mainstream resource.
The Blue Ribbon Commission’s best answer for the nuclear waste dilemma.
John A. Bewick
As the Fukushima-Daiichi crisis unfolds, the U.S. DOE’s Blue Ribbon Commission is preparing its initial recommendations on how America should deal with its commercial nuclear waste. Early indicators suggest it will endorse the so-called fedcorp model—creating an independent federal corporation, similar to TVA. But a fedcorp structure, by itself, won’t resolve the spent-fuel dilemma. Success will require a strong mandate, consistent funding—and a totally new approach to siting and management.
With budget battles heating up in Washington, Congress and the Obama administration are squaring off to debate energy policy legislation. While Democratic leadership favors a clean energy standard, Republican lawmakers are focused on blocking administration initiatives to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. A compromise approach might bring substantial changes to America’s national energy strategy.
Could a TVA-style Fed Corp model be the answer to America’s ongoing nuclear waste dilemma? A bill sponsored by the new Senate Energy Committee chairman proposes to create just such a corporation. Constellation’s Henry (Brew) Barron discusses the proposal — and its prospects for enactment in the current political environment.
In the wake of the banking crisis, utilities lead the way to financial stability.
Michael T. Burr
The back-to-basics trend positioned utilities and other energy companies to lead the way out of Wall Street’s mess. Despite a perfect storm of rising costs and a weakening economy, utilities and lawmakers might start a wave of investments in clean-energy assets and technology. But will Wall Street be ready to finance it?
A Contentious Bill Passes Senate (em Two Votes Shy of Blocking a Veto
Recently passed by the U.S. Senate, nuclear waste bill S. 104 lies mired in quicksand, facing a promised presidential veto, not to mention attacks from senators representing those states targeted for possible waste storage sites. Disposal of waste from the nation's nuclear generating plants has turned into possibly the most contentious issue on Capitol Hill.
The Senate subcommittee funding the Department of Energy (DOE) may use a carrot-and-stick approach this year to push DOE into finding a quicker solution to the long- and short-term nuclear waste crisis. The debate to get the waste stored safely underground promises an appropriations war that could rival the federal budget skirmish.
Current law authorizes only a permanent repository, not interim storage. Utilities, however, claim they're running out of room to cache their waste.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has settled its lawsuit with the State of Idaho, clearing the way to resume shipments of radioactive waste from Navy ships to a DOE storage site in Idaho. DOE will pay Idaho $350 million and has promised to remove the Navy's spent fuel from the Idaho storage site by 2035 or face a $60,000-a-day penalty.
After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness as a minority party, House Republicans are ready to slash and burn what they see as a bloated federal bureaucracy. The next two years will demonstrate just how powerful the legislative branch can be when both House and Senate are controlled by a strong-willed party on a mission. Electric industry officials seem optimistic, but cautious, about this Republican revolution.
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