The last few years have already seen a dramatic change in discourse on energy issues in the US and globally. But a complex present is laying the groundwork for a new, potentially cleaner, energy future.

Congressional deadlock is allowing two game-changing Environmental Protection Agency rules to pass into law, the Mercury & Air Toxics Standards (known as the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology, or MACT, rule) and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, CSAPR, which together will cost utilities and ratepayers billions of dollars.

“During the past five years, we have invested more than $2 billion” to replace older PSEG generating units and upgrade others, Ralph Izzo, Chairman, CEO and President of Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), wrote in an October 27 blog.

As the US energy industry transitions from coal, natural gas will become an ever more popular form of energy generation. This week, Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and author of recently-released The Quest, told a Congressional panel that natural gas “really does count as the biggest energy innovation in its scale.”

“We need clear regulation so people can keep making investments with a clear sense of what the future will be,” Yergin said.

Carrots and…

Even though he may be on the the other side of the stick, Izzo agreed that the EPA’s emissions rules are “overdue” because they will give the capital-intensive electricity industry the certainty it needs to make large new investments.

Regulatory uncertainty is still a looming headache for the energy industry but developers in the wind and solar businesses have continued building. This week Spain’s Abengoa Solar announced that construction was in full force for its newest 280 MW CSP Mojave Solar project in California. It will be selling its power to PG&E.

The wind sector is also booming. Find the facts and figures here. This week, Breaking Energy ran a series, “Wind Rush,” on the global industry that has increasingly been revolutionizing power industry dynamics in Europe, the United States and China.

Read the full series:

Clean Revolution Changes Global Power Industry Dynamics
US Industry Hurdles Towards A Cliff Without Production Tax Credit
Asian Typhoon Hits Debt-Crisis Europe
1603 Dollars Blown In The Wind
Wind, Not Solar, Wins In 1603 Program
European Take The Credit
Turbine Wars