A majority of Senate Republicans opposed every climate change and clean-energy-related amendment to the Keystone XL bill that passed last week, according to a scorecard released today by the League of Conversation Voters. During the monthlong debate on the pipeline project, 37 GOP senators earned a score of zero for opposing amendments to the bill that acknowledged climate change is real and significantly affected by human activity, along with other proposals that promoted renewable energy sources and protected public lands, the LCV study found.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) appears to be one of the few Republican governors who is not calling for EPA to scrap its proposed rule setting greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants, with the governor endorsing a shift away from coal generation and the state’s formal comments largely focusing on specific concerns with the plan.
Industry proponents argue that EPA “ignored” the crucial role that interstate transmission projects will play in meeting the GHG rule’s targets as states turn to natural gas and renewables to comply, requiring major new transmission upgrades under the rule. To address their concerns, WIRES, a group that represents transmission owners, investors, and customers, late last year filed comments on EPA’s proposed rule that urged the agency to extend the planned 2020 interim compliance deadlines to account for the infrastructure upgrades that will be needed.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) plan to submit their recommendations in the spring, ahead of the EPA rules’ expected finalization this summer, AWEA President Tom Kiernan said today. “We do see wind and solar and other renewables as, I would say, a central part for … most states to comply with the Clean Power Plan in a cost-effective way,” Kiernan said.
“I think we have to get over the pipeline in order to get to those other things,” Ashford, who unseated eight-term Rep. Lee Terry (R) last year, said during an interview this week.
Those other things, he said, include developing policies that protect the environment and promote renewable energy while recognizing the importance of fossil fuels. “Wind energy. We worked in Nebraska on expanding wind energy,” Ashford said. “We’re the third-windiest state.” He went on, “Anything to do with energy efficiency and credits to businesses to make facilities more energy-efficient, to use more energy-efficient products.”
Mining and electric utility trade associations are among the 11 partisan interests opposed to Minnesota in a case that experts say could help define the power of states to regulate carbon-free electrical generation. The clash is happening in Minnesota’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling in April invalidating a part of the state’s Next Generation Energy Act. The ruling threw out Minnesota’s broad ban against utilities signing deals to import coal-generated electricity on grounds that it’s a trade barrier under the U.S. Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause.
Colorado has been at the forefront of renewable energy since 2004, when then-Congressman Mark Udall, a Democrat, and Republican House Speaker Lola Spradley teamed up to push a ballot measure that required utilities with more than 40,000 customers to generate 10 percent of their electricity from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and some hydroelectric sources by 2015. The current standard was 2 percent. Voters approved Amendment 37 and that same year put Democrats in charge of the legislature for the first time since 1962. Various renewable-energy bills followed, including one in 2007 that increased the standards.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s Budget Includes $250,000 To Study ‘Wind Energy System-Related Health Issues’
“The request for a Wind Energy Health Issues Study was included with the intent to provide the Public Service Commission with comprehensive information to consider as they receive requests for future wind energy projects,” said Laurel Patrick, Walker’s press secretary, in a statement to The Huffington Post. Wind power in the state has been the subject of some public debate, drawing campaigns paid for by conservative groups with ties to fossil fuel interests on one side and by renewable energy advocates on the other.
What we don’t stop and ponder enough, though, is that the country is changing how it uses energy. It’s certainly not enough to silence all environmental concerns. But nonetheless, the progress, when you sample it, is really impressive. Such is the takeaway from a new report out by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which has just released its 2015 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, prepared for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. Looking back over recent years, the report shows that on any number of metrics, progress in clean energy has really been immense.
President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget includes a request of $170.9m to fund offshore activities by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management including renewables development. “BOEM’s priorities fully support the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy for safely and responsibly expanding domestic energy production and advancing renewable energy for our clean energy future by using the best available science to inform our decision making,” said BOEM director Abigail Ross Hopper.