Federal judge tosses out BLM approval of Nev.’s largest project

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 5th, 2015

A federal judge in Nevada has thrown out the Obama administration’s approval of what was projected to be the Silver State’s largest wind power project, ruling that the Interior Department did not properly evaluate potential impacts to golden eagles and Mojave Desert tortoises.

Vestas expects extension of U.S. tax credit in December

Source: By Ole Mikkelsen, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, November 5th, 2015

The world’s largest wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems expects an extension of a production tax credit (PTC) for wind farms developers in the United States to be approved before the end of year, its chief financial officer said. “The first approval of the PTC passed greatly in favour of wind. The final outcome is likely to come at the same time as last year, in December,” Marika Fredriksson told Reuters by phone.

44 states take sides in expanding legal brawl

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Nearly every state has taken a side in the court battle that will determine the fate of President Obama’s signature climate change policy. Yesterday, 18 states led by New York and several cities asked a federal court to allow them to defend U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a rule to cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. That pits them against 26 other states and a wide range of industry groups that have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to strike down the rule.

“I can’t recall a Clean Air Act rule, or other EPA rule, that had 44 states in the mix,” said Joe Stanko, an attorney at Hunton & Williams.

More States Wade Into Legal Fight on Greenhouse Gases

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, November 5th, 2015

A legal battle is brewing in Washington over President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, setting states economically dependent on fossil fuels against those already suffering from longer droughts, stronger storms and higher seas. A coalition of 18 states filed motions Wednesday seeking to defend the Clean Power Plan, responding to lawsuits filed last month against the Environmental Protection Agency. Led by New York and California, they are joined by municipalities and urban counties largely led by Democrats, including New York City, Chicago and South Miami. Twenty-five mostly Republican states, led by Texas and West Virginia, oppose the new carbon-cutting rules as an “unlawful power grab” they claim will kill jobs and drive up electricity costs. Also suing the EPA are several utilities, the National Mining Association and Murray Energy Corp., the nation’s largest privately owned coal company.

Plan to shutter bird-killing Calif. turbines draws skepticism

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

The backers of a controversial California wind farm blamed for killing thousands of birds over the past three decades have announced they are shutting down the facility, earning cautious praise and plenty of skepticism from conservation groups and federal regulators. The Altamont Winds project located in one of the nation’s heaviest winter bird migration corridors, Altamont Pass, shut off all 828 wind turbines last weekend. The 83-megawatt wind farm and others in the area are required to shut down from Nov. 1 to Feb. 15, 2016, during the height of the bird migration season.

The Tough Realities of the Paris Climate Talks

Source: By STEVEN E. KOONIN, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

IN less than a month, delegates from more than 190 countries will convene in Paris to finalize a sweeping agreement intended to constrain human influence on the climate. But any post-meeting celebration will be tempered by two sobering scientific realities that will weaken the effectiveness of even the most ambitious emissions reduction plans that are being discussed.

Montana Rule Hinders Wind Power Projects, Graycliff Wind Energy Tells PSC

Source: By STEVE JESS, Montana Public Radio • Posted: Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

A startup that wants to build a 25 megawatt wind farm near Greycliff in Sweet Grass County claims it’s been frustrated at every turn by resistance from NorthWestern Energy and the state’s all-Republican Public Service Commission. Tuesday morning Greycliff Wind Energy appealed to the PSC to throw out an existing state rule that it says the electric utility has used to stymie the efforts of wind power developers.

Researcher says Michigan could get to 100% renewable energy by 2050

Source: By TRACY SAMILTON , Michigan Radio • Posted: Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

A study by Stanford University professor Marc Jacobson says every state in the U.S. could get 100% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2050 – and save money in the process. In Michigan, most of that power would come from the state’s most abundant renewable resource: wind. Forty percent of the state’s electric needs could be met with on-shore wind power, according to Jacobson’s analysis, and 31% from off-shore wind power.

EPA rules for new power plants draw states’ lawsuits

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

West Virginia and 22 other states challenged U.S. EPA rules for new power plants in court today, marking the latest attack in a multifront war against the agency’s climate change policies. The coalition of 23 states submitted a petition asking a federal appeals court to strike down a new EPA rule that sets the first-ever carbon dioxide emission standards for new and modified power plants.

Cheap, reliable, lightweight battery may be near, but is not yet here

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

In the push for a better battery, many in the industry are finding that the biggest challenges aren’t in chemistry and physics, but in regulations and market forces. Currently, the opportunities for a cheaper, more efficient way to store electricity are booming. Market research firm IHS Inc. reported that grid-level energy storage is on track to reach 40 gigawatts in capacity by 2022, a hundredfold increase from 2013. Meanwhile, global light-duty electric vehicle sales are expected to increase from 2.1 million in 2014 to 6.3 million in 2020, according to Navigant Research.