The United States currently stands ready to make energy decisions that will impact every U.S. citizen alive today and generations moving forward. President Joe Biden committed to fighting climate change in his campaign for President and has continued in this vein by making goals to halve U.S. carbon emissions by 2030 and further, to create a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The key to this plan is the not-so-simple issue of electricity generation.
The International Code Council (ICC) originally adopted the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in 2000. The 2021 IECC addresses energy efficiency on several fronts including cost, energy usage, use of natural resources, and the impact of energy usage on the environment. As of June 2019, Illinois has adopted a statewide commercial and residential building code based off the 2018 IECC. This Illinois Energy Conservation Code (Illinois Energy Code) was implemented with the belief that buildings built in compliance with these energy performance standards would see annual energy costs reduced by approximately thirty percent.
In his proposed American Jobs Plan, President Biden has stated that if the United States wants to achieve its decarbonization targets and get climate change under control, cutting off government support to the fossil fuel industry is a crucial first step. Eliminating government subsidies for fossil fuels is the most logical step in fighting back against climate change, but Biden is facing an uphill battle to get his American Jobs Plan passed through Congress.
On August 29, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (“the EPA”) announced a proposed reconsideration amendment to an Obama Administration rule regulating the natural gas industry’s methane emissions. This proposal is in response to President Trump’s order for federal agencies to review their actions, purportedly to remove potential resource burdens. The EPA asserts that the changes will remove regulatory duplication and save the industry millions of dollars, but the savings may come at the expense of increasing the planet’s vulnerability.
I authored a post last year regarding the nuclear energy industry’s current initiative to reduce operational costs to compete with the ever-dropping cost of energy production. Coined “Delivering the Nuclear Promise,” the initiative aims to enlist cost-cutting initiatives such as reducing staffing and removing superfluous requirements that maintain large margin to regulatory thresholds. Companies have set hefty goals to bring the cost of nuclear energy production down to values that would make nuclear energy competitive against less expensive, highly backed, and not-as-clean, forms of energy. This all needs to be done without sacrificing safety.
In order to achieve these drastic measures, I will set forth the case for on-the-rise technologies, that while the nuclear energy industry does not currently have the infrastructure to support, will aide in this transition, and as I argue, ultimately be required in order to sustain this clean and necessary form of energy.
In a rare ruling on September 12, 2017, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) unanimously approved revisions to the Illinois Commerce Commission’s (ICC) proposed Part 412 Order. The ICC and members of the Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES) community negotiated the adopted compromise language. Part 412 of the Illinois Administrative Code, Title 83, Chapter 1, outlines the obligations of retail electric suppliers. Lobbyists for Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) estimate that this compromise has been up to five years in the making.