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

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 9,600

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,600 in the U.S. Sunday night, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

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Biden says he'll follow CDC mask guidance: "Listen to the Faucis of the world"

Joe Biden said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that he will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new recommendation that people wear face coverings when they leave home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: After the White House announced the guideline last week, President Trump said he will likely not wear a mask and emphasized that the guidance was "voluntary."

Clyburn says House coronavirus committee won't investigate Trump

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the coronavirus committee created by Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will oversee how the $2 trillion stimulus bill is distributed during the pandemic, not the federal government's initial response to the virus.

What he's saying: "This is not about the president of the United States or even the independent counsel or the inspector general. This is about focusing on how the money is spent, whether or not the people who are getting the money are actually working on behalf of the American people, or whether or not they are profiteering."