Industry fears Biden climate law will fail without enabling reform
Executives said on Monday at the CERAWeek energy conference that permitting reform is necessary for the Biden administration’s climate law, which offers hundreds of billions of dollars in incentives for renewable energy to combat global warming, to be completely successful.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which extends tax subsidies to wind, solar, and other clean energy projects, was passed by U.S. President Joe Biden last year, but a related initiative to expedite environmental approval – which may take years to complete – has stalled in Congress.
According to Bold Baatar, who oversees Rio Tinto Plc’s copper division, the IRA may not get its full usage and value if the permitting reform doesn’t materialize.
Due to its importance in electrification, copper demand is anticipated to skyrocket as a result of the clean energy transition; however, the United States has few operating mines, and Rio’s proposed copper mine in Arizona is being fiercely resisted.
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The time it takes to obtain licenses for power generation projects and the transmission lines needed to transport the power to markets has long been a source of dissatisfaction for utilities and renewable energy companies.
The CEO of industrial gas company Linde Plc, Sanjiv Lamba, stated that he supported the IRA since it offered incentives to develop answers to the climate change problem, but added that addressing the micro-level permitting challenges was equally crucial.
White House Energy Adviser, John Podesta told the conference that permitting reform was high on the administration’s agenda, adding that Biden officials are using all available tools to accelerate permitting and are also supportive of legislative efforts to streamline regulation.
Republican senator from Alaska, Dan Sullivan expressed his satisfaction with the administration’s remarks on permitting reform, but hoped that it would cover fossil fuel projects as well as renewable energy sources.
ConocoPhillips’ Willow oil and gas drilling plan in Alaska’s North Slope, a project the state government hopes can assist the state reverse declining oil output and earnings, is anticipated to get a decision from the Biden administration in the coming days.