Democratic News

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine opportunities to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts in the United States. Senator Manchin, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, stressed the importance of including communities impacted by the changing energy landscape in solutions moving forward. 

“Both myself and the Chairman come from extraction states. People have the impression that we don’t want to move things forward or believe climate change is real. On the contrary, it is real. We know it’s real, we’re seeing the effects in all our states. In West Virginia it’s the horrible flooding we’re seeing and the melting ice and rising sea levels in Alaska. Some people today are looking to eliminate certain energy sources. We’re more focused on innovation and not picking winners or losers in the market. The federal government also needs to realize that there is support that’s needed if you want to have public buy in. You’ve got to have a plan going forward. You cannot leave certain areas of this country behind. The people who’ve done the extraction, mined the coal or drilled the oil and natural gas - as markets change they still need opportunities to survive. We have been so short sighted - through our tax incentives and extenders, picking winners and losers hasn’t worked. The market is what the market is going to be - and it’s what people demand,” Senator Manchin said.

Senator Manchin also questioned Mr. Dan Conant, Founder and President of Solar Holler, about the legislative policies at both the state and federal level necessary to deploy renewable energy technologies. 

“Where do you see the best mix of policies,” Senator Manchin asked.

“As far as federal policies that can help us, even in states that have policy headwinds, so much of it comes back to the structures that are put in place either for tax credits or for federal loan and grant programs. So for instance, with USDA and the Rural Energy for America program, it can provide loans for up to 25 percent of the system costs for a business but the limitations they put are extremely unfavorable for any project in a state that doesn’t have power purchase agreements and there are 25 states in the country that don’t allow power purchase agreements that don’t have a competitive marketplace. Through the restrictions that the USDA program development staff have put into place, they’ve really left out a large swath of the country,” Mr. Conant said. 

The hearing also featured testimony from representatives from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, The Alliance to Save Energy and Cold Climate Housing Research Center.   

To watch the hearing in full, please click here