Major legislative compromises are unsatisfying by design. They invariably have good, bad, and ugly parts.
I have previously argued that the Democrats would be smart to compromise on offshore drilling (see “Since offshore oil is de minimis, why shouldn’t Obama and the Dems make a deal? Part 1“) The rest of this series will examine whether the so-called Gang-of-10 deal is in fact a smart compromise.
That question can be rephrased as, does the good beat out the bad and the ugly [as, of course, Clint did in the epic spaghetti western]?
I will focus here on the main good-and-bad pieces of the “New Energy Reform Act of 2008.” Part 3 will cover the smaller pieces, including the one I think is really, really ugly.
The best part by far is:
Enhancing Conservation [sic]
To ease gas prices and protect our environment during the transition, the proposal includes a significant federal commitment to promoting conservation and efficiency [sic]. These include:
• Extending renewable energy, carbon mitigation and energy conservation and efficiency tax incentives, including the production tax credit, through 2012 to create greater certainty and spur greater investment.
[Note to Gang-of-10 Dems: Please stop buying into the GOP frame that renewables are the same as "conservation and efficiency." That's how they try to pigeonhole all progressive solutions -- Doing with less. New renewables, including solar baseload, are a serious supply option that are all but certain to deliver more new kilowatt hours through 2050 and beyond than new nuclear power plants and coal with carbon capture and storage combined.]
Assuming this includes the solar investment tax credit along with the PTC, then this is far and away the most important piece of the legislation. Renewables have had to contend with uncertain year-by-year renewal for a long time. Consider the effect on the wind power, as this chart from a Union of Concerned Scientists study shows: