Energy storage grabs spotlight in Southeast utility tech plays

Source: Kristi E. Swartz, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, October 9th, 2015

Energy storage is fast becoming the next step in the continuing transformation of the electric utility sector. In just a few years, executives have moved from a “we’re studying it” phase to figuring out how to make storage actually happen on a larger scale. What’s more, all three of these electric companies have significant or growing renewable energy operations outside their regulated utility territories, creating opportunities to use storage across the United States and elsewhere, analysts say.

Outside Forces Shape European Energy

Source: By DAVID BUCHAN, New York Times • Posted: Friday, October 9th, 2015

The European Union is struggling to create what it calls its “energy union.” This is largely a refinement of existing policies aimed at improving energy security, accelerating the shift to a low-carbon economy and, on a political level, showing that the 28 European Union member states can pull off a new integration project at a time when they are deeply divided on monetary and immigration policy. Much of it, therefore, is inward-looking.

Renewables Shrug Off Slumping Oil as Investment Remains Steady

Source: By Reed Landberg, Bloomberg News • Posted: Friday, October 9th, 2015

Surging interest in the U.S., Brazil and China offset a 48 percent plunge in funding for projects in Europe, long the leader in clean-energy technologies. The industry’s capital needs declined because of a drop in the cost of wind power plants, which in the U.K. and Germany are now competitive with fossil fuels even without subsidies. Industry executives will discuss the trends at a conference hosted by New Energy Finance in London next week.

Texas Town Announces Renewable Energy Plan

Source: By Eleanor Dearman, Texas Tribune • Posted: Friday, October 9th, 2015

Denton announced a lofty plan Tuesday that aims to make the North Texas city one of the cleanest energy providers in the state. Mayor Chris Watts announced a Denton Municipal Electric plan to have 70 percent of the city’s electricity generated from renewable sources like wind and solar power by 2019, up from 40 percent. “The renewable Denton plan is our proposed answer to the citizens’ requests of how can we increase that number,” Watts said at a news conference Tuesday.

Renewables soon could knock the wind out of natural gas

Source: Nathanial Gronewold, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, October 9th, 2015

Energy industry experts here predict that the growth of renewable energy will challenge natural gas in the years to come, based purely on the economics. Reporting relative ease with garnering long-term renewable power contracts with electricity distributors, renewables investors were beaming with optimism at the annual South by Southwest Eco conference, which wrapped up yesterday.

Donald Trump takes Scottish windfarm fight to UK’s top court

Source: By Paul Sandle, Reuters • Posted: Friday, October 9th, 2015

Billionaire U.S. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump took his long battle against windfarms near his Scottish golf course to the UK Supreme Court on Thursday. The property mogul – who says plans for 11 offshore turbines will spoil the view from his greens – has lost a series of battles in lower courts, and has vowed to go on to the European Court of Justice if he fails again in London. “Mr Trump does not want a wind farm 1 km (0.6 mile) away from his golf course,” Trump’s lawyer John Campbell said.

Dems block energy and water spending bill

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, October 9th, 2015

Democrats yesterday afternoon blocked the Republican majority’s latest attempt to move forward with consideration of spending bills under disputed budget caps. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin was the only Democrat to vote “yes” on a motion to proceed on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s energy and water spending bill. He recently expressed interest in debating fossil fuel technology spending. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, accused Democrats of violating regular order and silencing lawmakers on the legislation.

Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference and Exhibition

Source: By Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference and Exhibition • Posted: Thursday, October 8th, 2015

This year’s eighth annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference and Exhibition being held at the Omaha Hilton in Omaha, NE, November 4-5, will feature some exciting new speakers, and the return of a conference attendee favorite, Lauren Thirer with GE Renewables. A Consumer Energy Showcase, open to the public, will be held the evening of Tuesday, November 3.

Lankford floats bill to phase out incentives for renewables

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Sen. James Lankford introduced legislation today aimed at phasing out tax incentives for renewable energy. Lankford’s (R-Okla.) bill would phase out all incentives for clean energy by 2026, including the production tax credit, or PTC, for wind power. Congress allowed the PTC to expire at the end of last year after approving a one-year retroactive extension that covered 2014. In July, the Senate Finance Committee included the provision in a broad tax extenders package that passed on a 23-3 vote.

White House Issues Veto Threat for House Oil Export Bill

Source: By Roberta Rampton and Timothy Gardner, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, October 8th, 2015

The White House issued a veto threat on Wednesday for a U.S. House of Representatives bill that would lift a four-decade-old ban on crude oil exports, saying the legislation was “not needed at this time.” Congress should instead end “the billions of dollars a year in federal subsidies provided to oil companies” and invest in wind, solar and other renewable energy projects, the White House said in a statement about the bill, which is expected to face a vote in the full House on Friday.