The Obama administration on Wednesday announced a long-delayed environmental regulation to curb emissions of ozone, a smog-causing pollutant linked to asthma, heart disease and premature death. The sweeping regulation, which are aimed at smog caused by power plants and factories across the country, particularly in the Midwest, is the latest in a series of Environmental Protection Agency controls on air pollution that wafts from smokestacks and tailpipes. Such regulations, released under the authority of the Clean Air Act, have become a hallmark of President Obama’s administration. Environmentalists and public health advocates have praised the E.P.A. rules as a powerful environmental legacy. Republicans, manufacturers and the fossil fuel industry have sharply criticized them as an example of costly government overreach. The National Association of Manufacturers has called the proposal “the most expensive regulation ever.”
One day earlier this month, McKenna was making rounds with a visitor when he pulled the SUV into a farm where Leighton Yoder and his family raise Jersey cows and operate a small dairy. McKenna wasn’t there to talk about milk, but another farm product Yoder has been nurturing. “How’s the power?” asks McKenna from inside the Jeep. “It’s real good,” answers Yoder. “We’ve got strong sun and wind today. I figure I’m making more than 20,000 watts out there.”
The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved plans to build an electricity line designed to bring wind energy from Iowa to the state. The panel unanimously OK’d the Rock Island Clean Line proposal Tuesday, ending a two-year review of the project, The (Moline) Dispatch and Sauk Valley media reported. “The ICC approval is a great step forward for the Rock Island Clean Line project and brings Illinois one step closer to creating a cleaner energy future,” said Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy Partners LLC.
A 500-mile transmission line designed to move wind-generated electric power from Iowa to Grundy County, Ill. can move forward, Illinois regulators decided Tuesday. The Illinois Commerce Commission voted 5-0 to allow Clean Line Energy Partners to build and operate the first merchant-owned electric transmission line in the state. The proposed $2 billion “Rock Island Clean Line” has the potential to dramatically cut electricity prices in Illinois and help the state meet its goals of deriving 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2025.
The apparent collapse last week of wide-ranging tax discussions just as congressional negotiators were on the cusp of a deal leaves hanging in the balance a framework that would have phased out a key energy incentive over the next several years. Bipartisan negotiators believed yesterday they were about to solidify a nearly $450 billion deal to make permanent 10 tax breaks for businesses and individuals, temporarily extend dozens of additional incentives through next year, and phase out the production tax credit (PTC) through at least 2017 (E&ENews PM, Nov. 25). But the Obama administration objected to the package’s tilt toward business credits and lack of permanent incentives for low-income workers and parents, issuing an eleventh-hour veto threat that largely scuttled the negotiations, sources familiar with the process said today.
China must invest $145 billion per year in technologies to increase its use of renewable energy to meet the goals laid out in the recent U.S.-China climate deal, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. An annual additional injection of $54 billion above business as usual would enable the share of renewable energy in China’s energy mix to hit 26 percent, according to the report from IRENA with support from the China National Renewable Energy Centre. The report is part of IRENA’s goal to double the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix by 2030.
The New Jersey Board of Utilities again opted to oppose construction of a pilot offshore wind project in waters near Atlantic City on Friday, saying the electricity produced will be too expensive, despite the millions in federal funding the project was awarded this spring. “The project does not provide a net economic and environmental benefit to New Jersey ratepayers,” the BPU wrote in a document outlining its decision.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Colette Honorable, President Obama’s nominee to join the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, on Dec. 4. Honorable’s confirmation was put on hold in September because of the sudden death of her husband, but Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the panel’s chairwoman, said she wanted to push forward with a confirmation hearing.
The wind industry is citing results from a poll it commissioned to argue voters want Congress to extend the production tax credit before the end of this year as opponents continue to argue the incentive is too costly. The American Wind Energy Association-commissioned poll found 73 percent of registered voters, including 63 percent of Republicans, said they would support “keeping the Production Tax Credit in place so that investment in wind energy can continue.” It also found that 79 percent of registered voters agreed with the statement “incentives for investment in wind energy help American workers make more of our own energy right here in America.”
In general, the package will temporarily extend through the end of next year the more than 50 tax breaks collectively known as extenders that were included in a Finance Committee package, S. 2260, earlier this year. About 10 of the tax breaks that had been temporary will become permanent, including the research and development tax credit, and the PTC will be phased out, sources tracking the process said. A tax break for transit riders also could become permanent in the package, while several other energy-related breaks are likely to get temporary extensions. However, the White House signaled its strong opposition to the reported $450 billion package soon after details began emerging this afternoon.