Mar 23, 2020 - Energy & Environment

How Congress' coronavirus stimulus would affect the energy industry

Photo: Joe Raedle/Newsmakers

Senate Republicans' version of the "phase 3" coronavirus stimulus, which stalled in a procedural vote last night, would provide $3 billion for the White House plan to buy 77 million barrels of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

What we're watching: Whether Capitol Hill negotiations on this or subsequent bills will address the renewable power sectors' push — backed by some Democrats — to modify and extend availability of tax incentives.

Why it matters: Solar and wind industry groups are starting to provide early projections of the economic fallout as the frozen economy hits development and coronavirus forces workers home.

Solar: The Solar Energy Industries Association, in a memo that accompanied this letter to Congress, cites analysts' estimates of "losses between 16% and 30% of volume this year and some sectors could see as much as 50% reduction."

  • That could mean jobs losses in the 38,000–120,000 range, a huge chunk of the sectors' roughly 250,000 workforce.

Wind: The American Wind Energy Association says roughly 25 gigawatts worth of planned project are at risk, representing $35 billion worth of investment.

  • 35,000 jobs are at risk, the group said.

Go deeper: Senate's trillion-dollar coronavirus stimulus bill hits speed bump

Go deeper

How the coronavirus stimulus bill impacts the energy sector

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.

Lawmakers reject renewables aid in latest round of coronavirus relief

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The renewable power sector would not get sought-after aid in the COVID-19 economic plans before lawmakers on Capitol Hill, a setback for the industry warning of steep job losses and scuttled projects.

Driving the news: House Democrats' $2.5 trillion proposal unveiled last night omits what industry groups and some lawmakers wanted: an extension of deadlines to use tax credits and the ability to quickly monetize them. The provisions are also absent from the Senate's GOP-drafted "phase three" proposal.

Coronavirus response should promote clean energy — IEA

Photo: picture alliance / Contributor/Getty Images

The International Energy Agency is urging governments to weave policies that support climate-friendly energy into their economic responses to the novel coronavirus.

What they're saying: "These stimulus packages offer an excellent opportunity to ensure that the essential task of building a secure and sustainable energy future doesn’t get lost amid the flurry of immediate priorities," IEA executive director Fatih Birol said.