The last of President Obama’s top-level climate advisers is exiting the administration, leaving the gritty work of implementing — and defending — his plan to cut carbon emissions to elevated holdouts. In Nancy Sutley, the president had a low-key aide who worked at softer decibels than higher-profile agents like Heather Zichal, the former climate confidante who departed last month, and Lisa Jackson, who left as head of U.S. EPA in February.
The Obama administration announced today that it would consider allowing a company that wants to build one of the world’s largest wind farms in southeast Wyoming to harm or injure eagles during the 30-year life of the project.
Saying the government should lead by example, President Barack Obama is ordering the federal government to nearly triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020. Obama says the plan to use renewables for 20 percent of electricity needs will help reduce pollution that causes global warming, promote American energy independence and boost domestic energy sources such as solar and wind power that provide thousands of jobs.
A federal court ruled today that the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission failed to adequately consider all evidence before granting a grid operator access to a competitor’s transmission lines. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said FERC’s decision to allow Entergy Corp.’s Arkansas arm to use Southwest Power Pool Inc.’s transmission lines in order to join the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s network was arbitrary and capricious.
Green energy is the least predictable kind. Nobody can say for certain when the wind will blow or the sun will shine. A field of solar panels might be cranking out huge amounts of energy one minute and a tiny amount the next if a thick cloud arrives. In many cases, renewable resources exist where transmission lines don’t. “The grid was not built for renewables,” said Trieu Mai, senior analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
House members are on tap to quiz the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s new acting chairwoman about the agency’s role in a changing energy landscape, marked by a dive into cheap natural gas and renewables, new environmental regulations, and LNG exports.
As it seeks investors, a project off the Massachusetts coast that aims to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm must reach fast-approaching benchmarks or risk missing out on hundreds of millions in critical funding. To qualify for a tax credit that would cover a major portion of its capital costs, Cape Wind either must begin construction by Dec. 31 or prove it’s incurred tens of millions of dollars in costs by then. Also, a $200 million investment — the only one of a specific dollar amount Cape Wind has announced — is conditioned on whether developers can fully finance the rest of the project by year’s end.
Opponents of an expiring renewable energy tax credit are rolling out a new study and ad campaign today arguing that some states receive more benefits than others. It’s the latest move in a long-running effort by the American Energy Alliance, a conservative advocacy group, and the Institute for Energy Research, its affiliated think tank, to eliminate the production tax credit, which supports the generation of wind electricity and a handful of other renewable sources. The credit is set to expire at the end of this year, although a modification enacted in January means wind developers can continue to claim it through at least 2015 as long as certain conditions are met.
“Wind energy is not a gigantic portion of New York State’s energy mix, but it is growing rapidly,” says Eric Whelan of Environment New York. The group’s report demonstrates “the environmental benefits that we could capture if we move forward in building more clean energy,” Whelan adds.
A large wind farm project planned for northeast Nebraska has been shelved because the builder couldn’t get a power company to commit to buying the electricity it would generate. The project planned by TradeWind Energy of Lenexa, Kan., is on hold unless the company gets a deal signed to sell the energy.