Odds against Congress approving any spending bills

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 6th, 2016

Congressional leaders will continue their push this week to pass individual fiscal 2017 spending bills. But partisan election-year politics, a limited legislative calendar and other factors make it a long shot that many of those bills will make it to the president’s desk. There are a host of reasons for lawmakers to start planning now for a catchall, year-end omnibus spending package. Otherwise, keeping the government open will require a continuing resolution, leaving agencies stuck with current spending levels until next year. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) insists the surprise defeat of the House energy and water spending bill, H.R. 5055, on the floor two weeks ago is not a sign the appropriations process has gone off the rails.

NextEra’s Pursuit of $2.6 Billion Hawaii Deal Goes Past Deadline

Source: By Mark Chediak, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, June 6th, 2016

NextEra Energy Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. haven’t terminated their $2.6 billion merger agreement after the island state missed a deadline for deciding whether to approve the transaction. The accord for NextEra to take over Hawaiian Electric requires action by one of the parties to end it and didn’t automatically lapse on their June 3 target date, the companies said in a statement Saturday. Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Chair Randy Iwase said Friday that he hoped the three-member panel would issue a ruling on the deal this month.

Can States Expand Renewable Portfolio Standards to Include All Low-Carbon Technologies?

Source: By Jessica Lovering, Greenwich Media • Posted: Monday, June 6th, 2016

Looking at the big picture, moving to LCPSs could provide real, significant benefits to the United States. Just adding existing nuclear capacity to RPSs in the states that have both an RPS and existing nuclear would more than double the statutory requirements for clean energy in this country, from 420 terawatt-hours annually by 2030 to 940 terawatt-hours. Assuring this additional power comes from low-carbon sources would prevent 320 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions — 17 percent lower than would otherwise be the case.

America Is Hitting the Road Again

Source: By CLIFFORD KRAUSS, New York Times • Posted: Monday, June 6th, 2016

The great American road trip is back. It’s partly that gasoline this driving season is cheaper than it has been in 11 years, according to the AAA motor club, and that the reviving economy is making people more willing to part with their money. But there is more than that at play here. This may be a cultural shift, as Americans experiment with the notion that maybe money can, in fact, buy happiness, at least in the form of adventures and memories.

New York Has a Plan to Make Long Island Offshore Wind Cheaper

Source: By Joe Ryan, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, June 6th, 2016

New York State is mounting a broad effort to reduce the cost of building a wind farm off the coast of Long Island, an ambitious push to generate clean power in U.S. waters. The state’s Energy Research and Development Authority plans to bid for a federal lease to develop a 81,000-acre (127-square-mile) site in the Atlantic Ocean. If it wins, New York would undertake initial site studies and pursue an agreement to sell the electricity. The state would then hold an auction of its own, selling development rights to the highest bidder.

Meet the scientist who wants to save the world with just renewables

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 6th, 2016

With his hands in the air, professor Mark Z. Jacobson lets out an exasperated sigh. A Twitter dispute between him and a conservative commentator is playing out in front of his 6,000 followers. The back-and-forth stems from a paper Jacobson published last year in the journal Energy & Environmental Science outlining paths for all 50 states to run on renewable energy by 2050.

Investors Bet Coal Has a Future as Backup to Renewable Energy

Source: By Mathew Carr, Rachel Morison, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, June 6th, 2016

Two investors are betting they can make a profit from coal by burning hardly any of it. Daniel Kretinsky, 40, and Patrik Tkac, 43, are trying to capitalize on Europe’s rapid expansion into renewables by embracing the fuel, a mainstay of European energy before efforts to curb global warming, in its new role as a backup for when the wind dies down and the sun fails to shine.

SolarCity offers new loan program for homeowners

Source: By Ivan Penn, Loos Angeles Times • Posted: Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Rooftop solar giant SolarCity said Thursday that federal and state tax incentives would go directly to consumers under the company’s new loan program that allows homeowners to buy solar panels instead of leasing them. Homeowners now have the option of purchasing solar panels through 10-year or 20-year loans from SolarCity. The program is available in California and 13 other states.

In Iowa, A Bipartisan Push to Become Leader in Wind Energy

Source: By Roger Drouin, Yale Environment 360 • Posted: Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Iowa offers a glimpse of what a thriving, apolitical renewable energy sector looks like. Iowa — where support from the state capital came as early as the 1980s, many residents correlate the industry with green jobs, and opposition to wind turbines has not been as vocal as in some other states — offers a glimpse of what a thriving, apolitical renewable energy sector looks like. “In the national perspective, it has become left versus right,” John Boorman, vice president of the Iowa Wind Energy Association, says of renewable energy. “It has never been that here. It has always been about jobs and economic development.”

The court clash that isn’t happening yesterday

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 3rd, 2016

A courtroom brawl over the Obama administration’s signature climate change rule was expected to kick off Thursday — featuring a packed courthouse in Washington, D.C., long lines, throngs of reporters and a slew of heavy-hitting lawyers making their case before three federal judges. That didn’t happen. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit made waves last month by tossing out those plans. Instead of holding oral arguments before three randomly picked judges, the court rescheduled the arguments for September before the full court (Greenwire, May 17). For the dozens of lawyers involved in the behemoth lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, today is now just like any other.