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Can Renewable Energy Get Over the Clean Power Plan Hurdle?

Sheldon Krieger - Author

Feb. 17 2016, Published 3:44 p.m. ET

The influence of the Clean Power Plan

Expanding the use of low-carbon or zero-carbon renewable energy is one of the building blocks of the Clean Power Plan. According to the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration), the Clean Power Plan significantly increased the projected renewable capacity additions in the United States.

The above graph shows the change in power generation from various fuel sources and energy efficiency savings under the Clean Power Plan extension policy, which extends beyond 2030 through 2040.

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It’s evident that the Clean Power Plan could set a bigger stage for renewable energy in the energy mix of the United States. According to the EIA’s energy generation projections, with the Clean Power Plan in place, renewable energy can outweigh the energy generated from all fossil fuels combined by 2040.

Impact of the Clean Power Plan stay

The Supreme Court’s stay on the Clean Power Plan can have a negative impact on the pace of capacity addition in the renewable sector. It could hinder expansion of existing projects and large-scale investments in the renewable (PBW) energy sector in the short term. However, climate change concerns can drive growth in the renewable energy sector in the long term.

First Solar (FSLR), SunEdison (SUNE), SunPower (SPWR), and Trina Solar (TSL) are some of the key players in the renewable energy sector in the United States.

What’s next for the Clean Power Plan?

The next hearing of the Clean Power Plan case is scheduled for June 2, 2016. If the stay remains, then the fate of the Clean Power Plan will depend on the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections. It’s a wait-and-see scenario for now.


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