In the wake of the People’s Climate March — and with world leaders descending on the UN to make pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — the city is abuzz with talk about how to move toward cleaner, sustainable energy. On Monday, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced plans to divest its millions from fossil fuels.
Four years after comprehensive cap-and-trade legislation stalled out in the Senate, the prospect of carbon pricing is back on the table. With regional carbon markets already up and running in California and the Northeast, and cross-state collaboration explicitly encouraged under U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, more states are examining carbon caps and carbon taxes as a route to lower emissions.
Iowa has emerged as a real powerhouse in the area of wind energy and stands to continue benefiting from its growth. That was the message University of Iowa Provost Barry Butler shared Monday as he discussed the future of wind energy at the Davenport Rotary Club meeting at The Outing Club, Davenport. “Iowa embraced wind in the 1980s and got strong,” he said, adding that was when he got involved in the renewable energy, particularly on the research side.
While Iowa has a range of options to comply with the plan, Turner and Wind’s analysis shows that wind alone can cost-effectively bring Iowa into compliance. Rather than hurting Iowa’s economy, by complying with the Clean Power Plan and furthering our commitment to clean energy we can continue to garner (as Governor Branstad said) “long-lasting benefits and [make] Iowa a competitive economic force not only in the United States but also in the world.”
Federal judges rejected a request Friday from nonprofit electric utilities to reconsider the ruling upholding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 1000, a landmark rule aimed at spurring upgrades to the electric grid.
The Large Public Power Council had asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reconsider its August ruling that upheld Order 1000 in its entirety. Order 1000 is among FERC’s largest and most complex rulemakings. It calls for regional coordination in grid planning and for abolishing an incumbent utility’s “right of first refusal” to build a new project, among other reforms. Virtually every aspect of the order was challenged at the D.C. Circuit. That the three-judge panel upheld the rule was a major victory for FERC
Board member W. Don Nelson said wind energy legislation passed by the Nebraska Legislature in recent years is forcing him to vote for the most cost-effective proposals and in the best interest of the ratepayers. He said the Legislature hasn’t defined what a “local” project means. “A project in Nebraska with a developer from Spain and financing from China is not a local project,” Nelson said. Nevertheless, Winston said, many state senators want wind energy investments to stay in Nebraska. He said there could be a “political firestorm” if LES invests in an out-of-state wind project.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission yesterday said New England companies should make less money on power line projects and scheduled a hearing to review complaints that rates are also too high in the Midwest. FERC commissioners agreed that the rate of return on equity — the amount transmission owners can earn from new power lines by charging ratepayers — of 11.14 percent in New England is unjust and unreasonable. The commission unanimously upheld an order that lowered the rate to 10.57 percent.
Susan Combs, the state comptroller, stirred controversy last month when she said Texas’ growing wind energy industry should “stand on its own two feet.” “Billions of dollars of tax credits and property tax limitations on new generation helped grow the industry, but today they give it an unfair market advantage over other power sources,” said Ms. Combs, a Republican, upon the release of a study meant to illustrate how energy policy affects Texans’ wallets.
U.S. EPA can’t count on its modified power plant rule to keep its entire greenhouse gas program for utilities on firm legal footing, the coal industry said yesterday. In comments to EPA’s docket for the rule, the National Mining Association warned that the modified power plant rule — which was released June 2 together with EPA’s sweeping proposal for existing power plants — could not act as a “necessary predicate” for the Clean Power Plan.
Natural gas will not be a bridge fuel to a post-carbon future in the absence of an overarching climate change policy, according to a study published yesterday in the journal Nature. That’s because the fuel is likely to displace low-carbon renewable energy sources as well as coal from the energy mix, the study finds. So the net impact on global warming of using abundant supplies of natural gas would be rather small, said Haewon McJeon, a scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and lead author of the paper.