Clean Energy Thwarted as Much as Coal by Rules, Group Says
Renewable-energy projects such as wind farms and solar fields are just as hard to build in the U.S. as coal-fired power plants because of regulatory obstacles and activists’ protests, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said.
Energy projects valued at $576.6 billion were abandoned, delayed or challenged by the state governments or environmentalists, according to a Chamber report released today. Wind, solar, hydropower, ethanol, biomass and geothermal projects accounted for about 45 percent of the challenged investments, according to the Washington-based trade group.
“If our great nation is going to begin creating jobs at a faster rate, we must get back in the business of building things,” Bill Kovacs, senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs, said in the report. “We also need to figure out how to do it without years and years of permit delays related to our complex regulatory process that allows almost anyone to impede or stop any energy project.”
The Chamber, the nation’s biggest business lobbying group, is urging lawmakers to rein in “excessive regulation” and President Thomas Donohue has led criticism of regulations enacted during the Obama administration.
The report listed 351 projects delayed by state and federal action or by local protests. Save Jones Beach, a Wantagh, New York-based citizens’ group, opposed a 940-megawatt wind farm off the coast of New York’s Long Island proposed in 2008. The state of New Mexico denied a permit for a 35-megawatt biomass project in Torrance County, because a local community complained about the expected emissions, the report said.
Electricite de France SA lost a partner for planned construction of a nuclear reactor in Maryland after Baltimore- based Constellation Energy Group Inc. (CEG) withdrew from the investment amid “burdensome” federal-loan guarantee conditions, according to the Chamber of Commerce.
EDF will seek a U.S. partner to add a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs plant in Lusby, the Paris-based company said in Dec. Under U.S. law, the NRC can’t grant a license to a company “owned, controlled or dominated” by a foreign entity.
Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club opposed Green Path North Transmission Line in California, abandoned in March 2010, and a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant proposed by Southwestern Electric Power Co. in Arkansas.
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