Mar 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

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.

  • 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.

Go deeper

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.

The renewable energy industry wants a piece of the coronavirus stimulus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Renewable energy industries and some Democrats have begun efforts to ensure the economic response to the coronavirus outbreak helps a sector that's suddenly facing strong headwinds.

The state of play: The industry has already had discussions with lawmakers' offices about how to proceed, Axios has learned.

Senate debate on bipartisan climate package could open new fault lines

Sens. Joe Manchin and Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The Senate's debate over energy legislation this week is slated to bring fresh collisions over climate change overall and electric vehicles policy specifically.

Catch up fast: The Senate will consider a grab bag of measures introduced as a catch-all package by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who head the Senate's energy panel.