Consumers have seen flat or declining energy costs as renewable energy becomes a greater part of the energy mix of Minnesota and the nation. That’s one of the findings in the annual 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance in partnership with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. The report points out that in the United States, renewable energy, greater energy efficiency and low natural gas and gasoline prices have combined to drive down energy costs – as a percent of total household spending – to its lowest level in decades, according to business council president Lisa Jacobson.
Opponents and supporters of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, a $2 billion power line project that would transmit wind-generated electricity across the width of Arkansas, have opened an ideological battle that puts the all-Republican Arkansas congressional delegation in Washington at odds with the new infrastructure-friendly mindset of President Donald J. Trump. Citing the need for local control and landowner rights, Arkansas’ national lawmakers specifically targeted the Clean Line in reintroducing legislation Monday that would require permission from state officials before federal power line projects proceed.
Part of one of the world’s biggest renewable energy systems, wind turbines dot the landscape on the edge of Sweetwater, Texas, along with a pump jack pulling up oil. Georgetown, Texas, is a conservative town in a conservative state. So it may come as something of a surprise that it’s one of the first cities in America to be entirely powered by renewable energy. Mayor Dale Ross, a staunch Republican who attended President Trump’s inauguration, says that decision came down to a love of green energy and “green rectangles” — cash.
Water tends to corrode and short out circuits. So what’s happening in the the renewable energy industry, where developers are putting jumbo-jet sized wind turbines into stormy seas, is at the very least an engineering miracle. What might be even more miraculous to skeptics like those populating Donald Trump’s administration is that these multi-billion-dollar mega projects make increasing economic sense, even compared to new coal and nuclear power. “If you have a sufficiently large site with the right wind speeds, then I do believe you can build offshore wind at least at the same price as new build coal in many places around the world including the U.S.,” said Henrik Poulsen, chief executive officer of Dong Energy A/S, the Danish utility that has pioneered the technology and has become the world’s biggest installer of windmills at sea.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the state had approximately 100 MW of clean energy in 2016, the baseline year for this goal; therefore, the governor is now aiming to reach a total of 1,000 MW by 2020. The release says the goal will include energy from a broad portfolio of clean energy resources, including solar and onshore and offshore wind, and homeowners, municipalities, institutions, and private commercial and industrial enterprises can contribute to the goal with smart investments in clean energy. (Notably, Rhode Island became home to the U.S.’ first operating offshore wind farm last year.)
Nebraska lawmakers kill bill allowing private energy developers to compete in Nebraska’s public power-only market
A legislative committee voted Tuesday to kill a proposal that would allow private energy developers to enter Nebraska’s unique public power-only market. The Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously to indefinitely postpone Legislative Bill 660, which would offer Nebraskans a choice of power providers with the goal of increasing competition and lowering prices. “We can’t hang a ‘not open for business’ sign on Nebraska.”
As Nebraska’s largest utility remains slow to adopt clean energy, some long-time customers are losing patience. At least 10 municipal utilities in Nebraska have chosen to stop or cut back on buying their power from the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), in search of lower prices and greater access to renewable energy. South Sioux City, about 100 miles up the Missouri River from Omaha, is one.
Gov. Terry Branstad said once he is confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to China, he hopes to help President Donald Trump’s administration advocate for trade deals and other policies that are better for the U.S. than those currently in place, but also remain beneficial to China. “The best deal is a win-win, which would be better for America but also good for China,” Branstad said. “My goal is to try to be the go-between between the two strong leaders … and hopefully working out some of these difficult issues.” The U.S. exported nearly $116 billion in trade goods to China in 2016, according to federal data, and Iowa exported $2.3 billion worth of goods to China in 2015, according to the US-China Trade Council. Some business leaders are concerned President Trump’s calls for renegotiated trade deals could lead to a trade war that could adversely impact Iowa ag producers and businesses.
In March 1983, President Ronald Reagan asked me to return to Washington to run the Environmental Protection Agency. I had been the E.P.A.’s first administrator, from 1970 to 1973, and over the agency’s first 10 years, it made enormous progress in bringing the country’s worst pollution problems under control despite resistance from polluting industries and their lobbyists. A worried and outraged public had demanded action, and the government responded. Yet the agency and its central mission came under attack during the 1980 presidential campaign. The Clean Air Act was criticized as an obstacle to growth. The agency was seen as bloated, inefficient, exceeding its congressional mandates and costing jobs. The Reagan administration and its new administrator were going to fix that. Sound familiar?
Wind generation edged coal in Oklahoma for the first time in 2016 as natural gas remained the dominant fuel source for electricity, according to preliminary data from the federal Energy Information Administration. Natural gas accounted for 46.8 percent of the state’s electricity, with wind at 25.12 percent. Coal generation was 24.65 percent, while other sources made up the rest.