News

Activist energy group puts forth vision for Calif. electric sector

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

A new paper by a group of California energy companies is aiming to set out a vision for how the state’s electricity grid should function in 2030. The paper released today by the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, a nonprofit founded by the activist investor Tom Steyer, is intended to “further inform” stakeholders as they come up with policies to support California’s push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy. The state has a renewable portfolio standard of 33 percent by 2020, and a bill currently moving through the Legislature would increase it to 50 percent by 2030.

Utilities are getting ready for life with distributed generation — report

Source: Krysti Shallenberger, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

It’s no secret utilities nationwide see distributed generation (DG) — most commonly in the form of rooftop solar — as a major upstart to their business model. Now Black & Veatch’s annual report bolsters that opinion but also notes that utilities are cognizant of such challenges and, more importantly, are preparing to clear the hurdles. Of the 435 utilities responding to surveys for the annual report, about 60 percent consider DG a major or minor threat with long-reaching consequences.

U.S. wind energy prices hit record low as industry continues rapid growth — DOE

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

The U.S. wind energy sector grew 8 percent in 2014, boosting domestic capacity to nearly 66,000 megawatts while further reducing costs through greater operational efficiencies and technology improvements, according to the Department of Energy’s latest assessment of the renewable energy sector. The “2014 Wind Technologies Market Report,” compiled by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said the industry’s solid performance in 2014 helped solidify the United States’ position as the world’s second-largest wind energy producer behind China and will aid in meeting recently established U.S. EPA rules aimed at reducing energy sector carbon dioxide emissions.

Bipartisan Policy’s Grumet says McConnell strategy on EPA plan ‘disappointing’

Source: Monica Trauzzi, E&E • Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Is U.S. EPA’s final Clean Power Plan legally vulnerable because it is seen by many as a significant departure from the agency’s proposed rule? During today’s OnPoint, Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, discusses the biggest winners and losers following last week’s release of the plan and talks about his organization’s next steps for engaging states on crafting compliance mechanisms.

Clean Power Plan ratchets up burdens on coal states

Source: Jean Chemnick and Emily Holden, E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

When U.S. EPA released its long-awaited final Clean Power Plan last week, it was immediately clear that states would face vastly different obligations than they had been preparing for under the 2014 draft rule. Many coal-heavy states originally faced relatively lax targets, based on a formula EPA had devised to account for current clean energy policies and infrastructure. But the draft rule’s algorithm was left on the cutting room floor and replaced by uniform standards applied directly to fossil-fuel power plants, no matter where they’re located — 771 pounds of carbon per megawatt-hour of power for natural gas plants, and 1,305 pounds of CO2/MWh for coal or oil plants.

New math of the Clean Power Plan ratchets up anger and burdens of coal states

Source: Jean Chemnick and Emily Holden, E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

When U.S. EPA released its long-awaited final Clean Power Plan last week, it was immediately clear that states would face vastly different obligations than they had been preparing for under the 2014 draft rule.

Many coal-heavy states originally faced relatively lax targets, based on a formula EPA had devised to account for current clean energy policies and infrastructure. But the draft rule’s algorithm was left on the cutting room floor and replaced by uniform standards applied directly to fossil-fuel power plants, no matter where they’re located — 771 pounds of carbon per megawatt-hour of power for natural gas plants, and 1,305 pounds of CO2/MWh for coal or oil plants.

Wind energy is flowing into D.C., but don’t expect your bill to decrease

Source: By Abigail Hauslohner, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

District officials announced Wednesday that the city is now receiving enough electricity from wind power to meet one-third of the local government’s electricity needs under a deal that took effect Aug. 1. The deal, with the Spanish energy company Iberdrola Renewables, supplies city facilities with 125,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually from a wind farm in Pennsylvania, officials said.

Europe’s offshore wind industry has a ‘dream year,’ begins to expand rapidly

Source: Eric Marx, E&E Europe correspondent • Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

For an offshore wind industry accustomed to decadeslong development, 2015 is turning into a banner year. In the first six months, European offshore wind installations touched 2.34 gigawatts — establishing the best year ever for installed capacity. Output tripled over the same six-month period a year ago, and total installed offshore wind capacity in Europe hit 10.4 GW generated from 82 wind farms in 11 countries (rivaling the power production of 10 large nuclear power plants). “The bottom line is it’s been a dream year for Germany,” said Oliver Joy, political affairs spokesman for the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in Brussels.

$900 million wind energy project awaits final approval from Iowa board

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

A new wind energy project in Iowa is still awaiting final approval from the Iowa Utilities Board. The board met Tuesday to review a proposed settlement agreement for the project from Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy. No decision was made. MidAmerican filed plans earlier this year to build wind farms on two new sites, with a total cost of about $900 million. If approved, the company would start construction in the spring of 2016 and conclude by the end of the year.

Rule may never need to be revised — McCarthy

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Clean Power Plan will be so effective at incentivizing a shift to lower-carbon sources of power that the agency may never find it necessary to tighten its emissions limits, Administrator Gina McCarthy said today. Speaking at an event hosted by Resources for the Future, McCarthy said the existing power plant rule released Aug. 3 set a long-term market signal that would continue to encourage reductions even after its final compliance deadline.