Comment: The Block Island Offshore Wind Project is Just the Beginning

Source: By Rob Sargent, Huffington Post • Posted: Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Looking across the calm, smooth Atlantic waters from the docks of the small island town of New Shoreham, Rhode Island, it may be hard to tell, but preparations are well underway for the nation’s first offshore wind farm to begin operating here before the year ends. Last fall, wind developers laid five foundations for the turbines that will spin in the Atlantic Ocean, three miles southeast of Block Island and east of Long Island. Last week, officials held the latest in a series of community meetings to discuss the action expected in the months ahead. At the moment, the focus is preparing the way for the 20-mile cable that will distribute power from the DeepWater Wind turbines to the mainland.

Whole Foods Plans 100 Rooftop Solar Systems

Source: By DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Things at Whole Foods are about to get even greener. The grocery chain plans to install as many as 100 rooftop solar systems, mainly through the power provider NRG Energy, on nearly a quarter of its stores and distribution centers, the companies said on Tuesday. SolarCity will also provide systems for the grocer, which could expand the rooftop solar program as the installations proceed.

Highly touted $2.2B merger deal falls apart

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

In a statement on the termination, rooftop installer Vivint said SunEdison’s failure to “consummate the merger” according to the agreement’s original terms constituted “a willful breach.” After delivering a letter to SunEdison, the company said it would seek all legal remedies available. SunEdison did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The $2.2 billion deal announced last year came under fire from investors. MarketWatch reported, for example, that banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. stalled at providing loans to fund the acquisition after SunEdison did not provide timely financial statements.

Senate inches toward deal on energy, Flint

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Senators were working yesterday afternoon to resolve the lone objection to an agreement to schedule votes on energy reform legislation and a separate measure to help Flint, Mich., cope with its drinking water crisis. Should talks bear fruit, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters, the energy bill, S. 2012, could return to the floor later this week or next week.

Dems introduce resolution pushing renewable energy

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

House and Senate Democrats introduced a bicameral resolution today to promote the goal of moving the country away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy. More than 100 House members and 30 senators — led by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Reps. John Delaney (D-Md.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) — are backing the sense-of-Congress resolution. It says that climate change will have a “devastating impact” on the U.S. economy and that the United States should strive to achieve 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Moniz hears rising skepticism about Mission Innovation

Source: Pola Lem, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz sought to stabilize support behind a key funding program for clean energy research yesterday as he appeared before increasingly skeptical Republican lawmakers. Moniz defended Mission Innovation, a 20-nation initiative set during the Paris climate agreement, against criticism about its goal to double clean energy investment in the United States over the next five years.

Majority Of Marylanders Support Bill To Increase Renewable Portfolio Standard

Source: By Solar Industry • Posted: Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Renewable energy company SunEdison Inc. and the Maryland Climate Coalition have released poll results showing that Maryland residents overwhelmingly support legislation before the General Assembly that would increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Currently, Maryland’s RPS requires state electricity providers to source 20% of their energy from renewables by 2022, and it also includes a 2% by 2020 solar carve-out. The Clean Energy Jobs Act (S.B.921/H.B.1106) would raise the RPS to 25% from renewables by 2020, as well as 2.5% from solar by the same year.

Report: Renewable energy fuels 21 percent of Minnesota’s electricity

Source: By Minnesota Public Radio • Posted: Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

The use of wind, solar, hydro and biomass power has jumped in Minnesota the past 10 years, and the state is poised to beat its goal for electricity generated by renewables, officials said Thursday. Minnesota generated 21 percent of its electricity from renewable energy in 2015, up from 6 percent a decade ago, the Minnesota Commerce Department said in a new report.

Potential Obama picks are seasoned regulatory referees

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Two more high-profile federal judges with experience deciding environmental cases are reportedly being vetted by the White House for the Supreme Court vacancy. Judge Sri Srinivasan and Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit have been the subjects of FBI background checks, The New York Times reported. The two appeals court judges have been widely cited as potentially attractive picks for President Obama as his administration looks to circumvent staunch Republican opposition to any nominee before the November presidential election.

Senators seek Plan B for Flint deal, energy package

Source: Geof Koss and Amanda Reilly, E&E reporters • Posted: Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Senators from both parties huddled on the floor last night to plot a path forward for energy reform legislation and an aid package for Flint, Mich., after it appeared that at least one Republican senator wouldn’t agree to let both measures come up for a vote. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) was refusing to agree to votes on the energy bill, S. 2012, and the separate Flint measure unless backers agreed to changes.