Despite its size, one small Scandinavian country is doing big things in regard to its energy policy. Denmark is on track to covering its electricity and heat supply solely with renewable energy by 2035. At the same time, its economic environment is proving itself highly competitive in attracting high-profile investors and multinational corporations like Apple, who are seeking to capitalize on the nation’s business-friendly energy policies. While it may be easy to dismiss Denmark’s remarkable renewable energy market as a fringe example, taking a look at their fruitful national strategy for renewables reveals many lessons that are applicable to the U.S. market—especially for states looking to revise their respective energy policies.
Pending legislation in Indiana could suppress consumer freedoms and potentially quash the state’s solar industry. When the Indiana State House committee voted last month on a bill to reform the interaction between utilities and consumers who utilize solar panels, it set a dangerous precedent for the U.S. renewable industry. The law, which would change net metering policies in the state, essentially removes any incentives for consumers to generate their own energy. In effect, this policy would end any hopes to advance the solar industry in Indiana; a state which has benefitted greatly from net metering.
Investment is the key to 21st century innovation. It is the catalyst for revolutionary technologies in the renewables field and for the energy industry as a whole. This month, the largest ever utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project in the U.S. will go online. It has been made possible by a government finance program that revolutionized the solar utility market and ultimately established an efficient private financing program for the renewables industry. The project – which represents the pinnacle of the solar energy industry in the US – is the result of this savvy 21st century investment.
Despite the rapid growth of renewable energy in the United States, pro-renewable policy support in the country is erratic. The industry is plagued by expiring tax credits, shifting policy landscapes, and delayed permits. This means that the renewable energy industry does not have a fighting chance to grow and impact the way we responsibly produce and consume energy. But there is a solution, and all we have to do is look across the pond to find it.
While the House hones in on its flagship energy issue for the new session, attention on the Keystone XL pipeline detracts from a number of other significant developments in our quest toward a more vibrant economy.
All it takes is some vegetable oils and animal fats to power a diesel engine. This may sound absurd, but it’s actually what ACORE member Imperium Renewables does every day. And that’s a good thing: biodiesel reduces greenhouse gasses by more than 50% over petroleum diesel. Plus, it’s much more price stable than notoriously variable fuel prices, and it puts Americans to work generating domestic energy. Even so, the industry faces challenges.