Billionaire William Koch, brother to Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries Inc., was once known as the politically moderate member of his family. But as the Obama administration attempts to tackle climate change, Koch has changed his tune. Koch, the owner of Oxbow Carbon LLC, has denounced global warming and alternative energy investments. His brothers are known for their backing of politically active nonprofits, but he’s chosen a different route: giving millions of dollars from his firms’ corporate treasuries to super PACs, a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.
A conservative think tank has set its sights on elevating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and its importance to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan ahead of a nomination hearing for its next chairman. The Institute for Energy Research is boosting efforts to educate policymakers on and off Capitol Hill about what FERC does and how that could affect the U.S. energy supply and consumption in favor of renewables and to the detriment of fossil fuels, especially coal, an IER spokesman said.
Legislation that would phase out tax incentives for the wind industry over the next six years is emerging as a possible compromise measure. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced the bill, H.R. 2987, the day before Congress left for its August recess. The measure would extend 100 percent of the PTC through 2014, then ratchet down the credit by 10 percentage points a year until hitting 60 percent in 2018, after which it would expire in 2020.
When NASA designer Robert Simmon bought one of the first iPhones in 2007, what he saw when he turned it on startled him. The image on the phone’s startup screen was one he had designed. Known as the “Blue Marble,” it displayed a beautiful picture of the Earth from space, composed of many satellite images taken of our home planet.
The 21 turbines at the Kingdom Community Wind farm in Vermont soar above Lowell Mountain, a testament in steel and fiberglass to the state’s growing use of green energy. Except when they aren’t allowed to spin at their fastest. That has been the case several times in the farm’s short existence, including during the record July heat wave when it could have produced enough much-needed energy to fuel a small town. Instead, the grid system operator held it at times to just one-third of what it could have produced.
Xcel Energy Inc. yesterday announced plans to purchase another wind farm currently under development in North Dakota, making it the fourth wind power project the utility has bought within the past month.
In promoting President Obama’s new Climate Action Plan during an event in Rhode Island this morning, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley warned that carbon emissions are as much a public health issue as an environmental one. Joined by two local children with asthma whose outdoor activities are limited during the summer, Sutley told the audience that “as their experiences demonstrate, climate change poses a very real threat to public health — both now and in the future,” according to excerpts provided by the White House.
Construction starts today on the largest federally owned wind farm in the country — which is being positioned next to the nation’s only nuclear weapons assembly plant. The 1,500-acre wind farm near Amarillo, Texas, will have five 2.3-megawatt turbines capable of generating enough electricity to power 3,500 homes each year.
The equipment that’s powering America’s wind energy boom is increasingly being made right at home. In 2007, just 25 percent of turbine components used in new wind farms in the U.S. were produced domestically. By last year, that figure had risen to 72 percent, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy. And exports of such equipment rose to $388 million last year, up from $16 million in 2007.
Clean energy investors, entrepreneurs and proponents shouldn’t be shy about discussing the effects of climate change and shouldn’t fret about those who doubt evidence linking human activities to rising temperatures and fierce weather, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today. Speaking at the opening of his sixth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, the Nevada Democrat said increasingly severe Western wildfires exemplify the need to combat climate change on all fronts and to aggressively highlight the nature of the problem.