An unusual, but significant change is taking place in the way federal programs are managed.
And it could affect billions of dollars worth of investments, including those in renewable energy.
The federal government recently announced a major change to how it manages its Wind Turbine program, allowing the agency to buy and build turbines.
The changes, which were approved by the White House last month, will allow federal programs to pay more for more renewable energy technologies.
The Obama administration has been working for years to get the nation’s wind farms up and running.
That’s not just about building more power plants, but also helping the country transition to clean energy.
The federal government will provide $8 billion in loans for wind farms and wind projects.
The new policy is a big deal.
The change in how federal programs buy and manage renewable energy is significant, as the renewable energy market has grown at a rapid pace.
The change will help boost the renewable industry, but it’s not all good news.
The White House said the change is “an important milestone” in how the government will be able to buy renewable energy for its own projects, including for its renewable energy programs.
But the policy also could have major implications for millions of federal and private projects that could see a big payoff from the new financing.
“We’re going to see some of the biggest projects that are going to come out of this,” said Paul Loeser, the head of the White Office’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office.
“We’re looking at a significant increase in federal loan amounts, and this is the kind of thing that will accelerate the growth of the renewables market.”
The changes to the federal renewable energy program will help federal programs sell more wind power to consumers, while helping to grow the industry.
“What we’re seeing is an increase in the amount of wind that’s coming in from all kinds of sources,” said Brian Rieger, the chief executive officer of Renewable America, a renewable energy advocacy group.
“That’s very significant.”
But the new rules are also a significant setback for a program that is designed to help states and cities transition to cleaner energy.
“When you look at the federal wind energy program, it’s designed to be the engine of the clean energy transition,” said Greg Walden, the former director of the Office of Energy Efficiency.
“So, we’re going backwards.”
The program was designed to provide loans to states and communities that are transitioning to clean and renewable energy, but the federal budget is shrinking and many of the states and localities are struggling to make the transition.
Many of the programs are also at risk of facing financial losses if the Trump administration follows through on its threats to cut off funding to states that don’t buy into the Renewable Fuels Standard, which is designed by the U.S. Department of Energy to help them meet the requirements of the Renewables Standard.
Federal subsidies to states like Virginia have seen their renewable energy funding plummet under the Trump Administration.
The state has struggled to compete with neighboring states in a market that has grown exponentially in recent years.
“I don’t think it’s going to be as easy to compete as it was in the past,” said Robert Pritchard, the president and CEO of the Virginia Renewable Renewables Coalition.
“Virginia has become a regional energy center and, in a very short period of time, we’ve been a regional power center.
We have a lot of jobs and a lot going on in Virginia.”
The state’s unemployment rate hit 10 percent in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And Pritcher said it will likely continue to get worse.
“It’s going in a downward direction,” he said.
“The unemployment rate has gone from 8 percent in January to 3 percent today.
You don’t have the kind [of] growth we have.”
That’s why many of Virginia’s communities are hoping the Trump White House will follow through on threats to stop their wind farm loan programs.
“The wind farms are going out of business.
They are not going to build them anymore.
It’s just not feasible,” said Joe Taggart, president of the Alexandria Community Development Corporation.
“If you go to a wind farm, you’re just wasting money, and it’s very, very costly.”
Rieger said the Trump team is working to figure out how the federal loan programs can continue to grow.
He said the administration is considering whether to continue to pay wind energy loans in the future.
“There’s no guarantee that the president will come back to the table and say, ‘We’re not going back to that,’ ” he said, adding that the administration will have to wait until the end of the year before making a decision.
The government’s decision to stop subsidizing wind farms comes on the heels of a White House decision to allow states to sell their excess wind power, including to companies like Duke Energy and Dominion.
But Duke and Dominion have been lobbying to keep their excess power.