REFF Wall Street: Rendell Speaks

on June 21, 2011 at 12:30 PM

The White House needs to lead in development of a full energy policy bill that will have “something for everybody” ranging from oil and gas to solar and wind and even energy efficiency, former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell said at today’s REFF Wall Street conference.

Federal mandates matched by permanent tax credits for renewable energy would reflect the underlying truth that energy markets are driven by political decisions and regulations regardless of fuel types, Rendell said. The former governor, who was an active proponent of renewable energy in a state known as a giant coal producer during two terms, is now a special advisor to investment bank Greenhill & Co, a partner at law firm Ballard Spahr and a political analyst for NBC.

Congress would be amenable to bipartisan legislation if given appropriate leadership and commitment from the Obama Administration, Rendell said. “We can’t put everything on hold for the next 18 months,” he said, citing the increasing attention among politicians on the outcome of the November 2012 elections.

Rendell excoriated Congress for spending excessive time in recent sessions attempting to limit implementation of plans to end use of incandescent lightbulbs in the US, a policy shift that had been in the making since 2007. “We’re diddling around on BS while the rest of the world is out there kicking our butt,” he told the conference in a speech that encompassed a wide range of subjects facing the industry, from tax policy to public sentiment.

Rendell’s comments focused on the job creation aspects of renewable energy and infrastructure spending before turning to nuclear energy.

“I think you’ll see some new nuclear expansion, but only on the site of existing current facilities,” he said, using a plant expansion permitted while he was governor as an example.