Mar 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

How the coronavirus stimulus bill impacts the energy sector

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The White House and Senate struck a deal on a roughly $2 trillion economic rescue package early Wednesday that lacks separate energy provisions sought by Republicans and Capitol Hill Democrats.

Driving the news: It omits $3 billion to buy roughly 77 million barrels of oil for the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a plan Democrats called a "bailout" for the oil industry, per Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

  • The money was in the prior GOP-crafted Senate bill that stalled earlier in the week.

But, but, but: The plan also apparently does not include provisions that renewable power companies sought as they warn of widespread project delays and layoffs due to COVID-19 and the economic slowdown.

  • The industry's asks included flexibility around deadlines to use tax credits and the ability to quickly monetize the incentives.

What they're saying: A Democratic aide familiar with the talks says Schumer and Democrats told Republicans that they either cut the SPR provision or "give Dems a litany of clean energy tax credits, including solar and wind energy tax credits."

Where it stands: The deal also does not include provisions in the House Democrats' package that would impose new carbon emissions requirements on airlines receiving aid. Some Senate Democrats had also wanted to include these measures.

What's next: I'll be looking to see if negotiations around the oil and renewables provisions resume if and when — probably the latter — there are subsequent economic packages.

Go deeper: 10 ways coronavirus is changing energy and climate change

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include new information about the absence of carbon emissions requirements for airlines.

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