When Edward Markey moved over to the Senate in 2013 in a special election, one of his first acts was to author a bill that would require utilities to distribute power of which at least 25% came from renewable sources. Had the bill passed, it would have set a national renewable-energy goal. More recently and successfully, Markey worked for the five-year extension of the PTC, a significant milestone for the U.S. wind industry. It is significant in part for the length of the extension and because it was a bipartisan effort. What’s more, the effort also spurred wind-farm development in coastal waters. For that work, we recognize Senator Edward J. Markey as a Windpower Engineering & Development Influencer of 2016.
Sen. Markey can boast of a long list of environmental and renewable energy accomplishments. For instance, he has been a consumer champion and national leader on energy and environmental protection. He is the principal House author of the 2007 fuel economy law, which increases fuel-economy standards to 54.5 miles/gal by 2025, the first increase in a generation. And he is the author of a competition encouraging law that requires electricity regulators to open up the wholesale electric power market for the first time, legislation that promotes growth of independent power producers such as wind farms
More recently, in 2014, Markey was first of about 28 to sign a letter to Senators Ron Wyden and Orrin Hatch, chairmen of the U.S. Committee on Finance that encouraged the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). The signees recognized that in 2012 the wind sector alone drove $25 billion in private investment and led to the installation of more than 13,000 MW of clean power production.
Actually, at the latest U.S. Offshore Wind Leadership Conference, Markey said he was working to extend the investment tax credit until 2025. The policy in part grants a 30% credit for the costs of developing renewable-energy projects.
“We have an opportunity to provide a long-term extension of this tax policy, Markey said at the conference. “Offshore wind is poised to take off in the United States.” He acknowledges that it needs assistance because unlike land-based wind farms, those offshore are much closer to load centers and so need much less transmission infrastructure, an expensive addition.
Sen. Markey previously served for 37 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has also served on the Energy and Commerce Committee, where he was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment. Markey was co-author of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) of 2009, an earlier but unsuccessful effort to encourage the growth of the renewable energy industry.
According to a spokesperson for the senator, competition remains his economic mantra, in his words, “ruthless Darwinian competition that would bring a smile to Adam Smith.” He has been instrumental in breaking up anti-consumer, anti-innovative monopolies in electricity, telephone services, and others. His pro-competition policies have directly benefited job creation throughout the country.