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Year in Review: 2017 Energy Policy Shifts

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2017 year in review energy policy changes 

2017 has been marked by massive changes in U.S. energy and environmental policy.

The biggest, which we’ll highlight below, are the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, the Paris Climate Agreement controversy, a return to coal power and the shifting of responsibility for carbon emissions to the local and private levels.

Clean Power Plan

Proposed by President Barack Obama’s administration in 2014, the Clean Power Plan is a three-tiered plan developed to curb carbon emissions throughout the United States, move the country to renewable and clean energy faster, and maintain North America’s global commitments to climate.

The plan though, wasn’t without its opponents, especially coal lobbyists. When more than two dozen states challenged it, the Supreme Court stayed the rule, putting the Clean Power Plan in a holding pattern. When President Trump took office, he ordered a review of the plan. By October it was repealed by the EPA.

As a side note, an EPA re-ruling on the Clean Power Plan is set for sometime in 2018.


RELATED CONTENT: For a more in-depth look, read our blog on the subject here.1

Paris Climate Agreement/Accord

196 countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement 2 (also known as the Paris Climate Accord) in November of this year. On June 1st, President Trump withdrew the United States, believing the country was given an unfair share of responsibility in meeting global energy goals.

The withdrawal was a huge shift away from the previous presidential administration’s vision. More importantly (and urgently) many in the scientific community say this could make it near impossible for the world to reach its goal of limiting global warming.

The withdrawal won’t become official until 2020 and numerous states and major cities have already pledged to uphold the standards 3 set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Return to Coal Power

In a political move tied to the Clean Power Plan, The Trump administration promised to protect the profitability and sustainability of coal and nuclear power (baseload), with a goal of ensuring a reliable and resilient electric supply from these two sources.

As detailed in a recent Direct Energy Business blog article,
The Department of Energy (DOE) executive order4 rule will compensate coal and nuclear plants if they’re able to keep 90 days’ worth of fuel stored on-site, thus allowing the plants to compete in wholesale markets dominated by natural gas and renewable energy.

Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, referencing a recent DOE report that emphasized the importance of coal and nuclear plants running around the clock, had this to say about the order, “...ensuring a reliable and resilient energy supply and corresponding supply chain are vital to national security.”

Direct Energy Business President John Schultz has an opposing view.

 “From my standpoint, the notice of proposed ruling is poor policy and based on a dubious set of facts,” Schultz said in a recent interview.


department of energy notice of proposed ruling


RELATED CONTENT: Click here to watch John's full interview

Carbon Emissions Responsibility

As 2017 comes to a close, U.S. solar and wind power growth could be at risk, as the president has proposed cutting spending for these industries by nearly 70%, through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).5

This proposed cut, along with the administration’s focus on growing the fossil fuel industry, has raised energy advocacy to a new level, led by the group America’s Pledge, who vows that the country remain  a global leader in emissions reduction.

The group, co-founded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown, includes 227 cities and counties, nine states and nearly 2,000 private businesses and investors.

In a November 2nd press release, Bloomberg summed things up this way, 6 “Americans remain committed to meeting our commitment under the Paris Agreement, no matter what happens in Washington.”


For the whole story on 2017 Energy Policy Changes, as well as highlights and 2018 Predictions, check out the Year in Review: Energy Industry News & Events from 2017.

 year in review




Posted: December 18, 2017