On January 18, 2011 President Obama signed an Executive Order to improve federal regulation as well as review existing regulations that may be outmoded or ineffective.
The Order, among other things, looks to coordinate regulation across agencies, reduce duplicative or overlapping regulations, and to foster increased participation by industry, experts and other stakeholders in the regulatory process.
This regulatory review could be a significant benefit for the renewable energy sector. Given the myriad of complex regulations that touch on this space, across federal agencies and departments as diverse as agriculture, energy and defense, a systematic, comprehensive effort to coordinate and rationalize regulations, incentives and tax treatment across the federal government could be a significant benefit in moving projects forward.
Should procurement of renewable energy by the Department of Defense mesh with Department of Agriculture programs that impact biomass? Wouldn’t it make sense for IRS regulations that impact renewable energy to be consistent in definition and treatment across departments and agencies? These seem like common sense, but do not always work this way.
A more coordinated, less burdensome renewable regulatory program, that works across the whole of federal government, would lead to a more rapid development of an increasingly robust renewable energy sector in the U.S.