Massachusetts could be on the cusp of a cleaner energy future. Legislation making its way through the State House could raise Massachusetts’ renewable energy standard and establish an ambitious clean energy procurement program. House and Senate lawmakers are expected to hash out different versions of the measure before the end of the month.
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will vote on legislation this week to establish new federal research programs for solar fuels and electricity storage. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is introducing the “Electricity Storage Innovation Act” today ahead of a markup later in the week. The legislation would establish a Department of Energy research program on storing and converting electrical power into chemical energy.
Germany plans to cap the expansion of offshore wind power at the start of the next decade to ensure the future growth of renewables keeps step with the construction of new power lines, according to a revision to a new energy law seen by Reuters. Between 2021 and 2025 the government plans to limit offshore wind installations to 3.1 gigawatts (GW) of capacity since high-voltage power lines needed to carry green energy from the windy north to the industrial south will not be ready.
A long-stalled offshore wind project is facing new hurdles after federal judges today ruled that the government’s environmental approvals were unlawful. The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit marks a win for environmentalists challenging the Cape Wind offshore wind project planned for coastal Massachusetts. Permits for the project have been stalled in federal courts and agencies for more than a decade.
The House pulled its energy and water spending bill in May over a controversial Democratic amendment to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers. Also in limbo are talks to merge House and Senate versions of energy reform legislation. The House named conferees weeks ago, but the Senate has yet to act. “We’re sort of like the Maytag repairman. We’re waiting for the call that they’ve named conferees,” said House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) yesterday.
A proposed Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization could also emerge this week with the agency’s current operating authority due to expire July 15. As one of the few must-pass measures in this Congress, the bill could become a magnet for attaching other legislation. Renewable energy advocates have been pressing to fix what they call an oversight in last year’s end-of-year omnibus spending and tax package, which extended the investment tax credit for solar for five years but not other qualifying sources. Leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee, however, said they have drawn up an FAA extension running through 2017 that will not contain any tax provisions.
Laura Galavis grew up in a country where oil is king. Living in Caracas, Venezuela, she saw the power that petroleum had over residents. When oil prices climbed, the country made money from selling the fuel. At the same time, Galavis said, residents struggled to pay for gasoline. When petroleum prices fell, the country suffered economically and poverty spread. It inspired her to learn how to install solar panels.
Texas ranks first in the nation for both installed and under-construction wind capacity, while also supporting more than 24,000 wind-related jobs. The state is home to at least 40 manufacturing facilities and numerous component suppliers, and its wind energy industry has provided nearly $33 billion in capital investment. The parts to make a windmill are big; a tower can stretch several hundred feet. That’s where the Coastal Bend’s largest port can play a vital role in getting blades, turbines and other materials from a transaction sheet to someone’s property.
A letter from over 60 groups representing hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers was sent to Governor Cuomo, calling for bold action to start a new energy chapter for the Empire State. With a massive offshore wind resource available right off our shores, representatives of environmental, public health, labor, environmental justice, and community organizations are pushing for a large-scale, long-term, megawatt-certain offshore wind power commitment from the Governor.
Wind energy industry leaders have formed a new political group to promote the power source and back candidates ahead of this November’s elections. The American Wind Action (AWA) groupnwill “focus on ensuring that the public understand the importance of wind to energy policy,” the group said in a statement, and “also help elect candidates who are strong advocates for wind, and work to defeat candidates who oppose wind energy with a leading-edge grassroots effort in the 2016 campaign.”