Don’t expect the United States to announce any new emissions targets at next week’s U.N. global warming summit. And definitely don’t expect promises of money for poor countries. But observers say that when President Obama takes the stage in New York, he will have a unique chance to recast America’s role in fighting climate change to the international community.
Bipartisan members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are slated to launch a new “grid innovation” caucus today with a host of electric industry representatives on the steps of the Capitol. But whether the policy-focused group will make gains in a partisan Congress remains to be seen. Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney of California, a former wind power engineer, will join Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina to launch the group, which will focus on educating members about “smart grid” technology and the need for modernizing the grid.
A Finance Committee hearing yesterday on energy tax policy issues served largely as a table-setter for a potential return next year to comprehensive tax reform negotiations, which would affect all sectors of the economy. But Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) briefly touched on their more immediate concern — the “tax extenders” package that has been awaiting action for months. Both said they would like a post-election lame-duck session to be used to pass the bill, which includes about a dozen energy-related tax breaks such as the production tax credit (PTC) among its 50 or so provisions.
But Jindal’s plan goes further than most in laying out details that sharply contrast with the positions taken by the Obama administration and most Democrats. His plan calls for opening more off-shore waters to drilling, for example, although he left unsaid whether he would push for opening waters off Florida and California that state opposition has kept off-limits. He also would phase out tax advantages for wind power, ethanol and other renewable fuels.
Freiburg, a city of 230,000 people near the French and Swiss borders, was green before it was cool, and when it comes to sustainability, residents refuse to settle for second best. The city has some of the highest energy efficiency, renewable energy and emissions targets in a country already taking the most ambitious steps in the world to reform its energy systems on a national level.
In decades of public debate about global warming, one assumption has been accepted by virtually all factions: that tackling it would necessarily be costly. But a new report casts doubt on that idea, declaring that the necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free. A global commission will announce its finding on Tuesday that an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure.
ast month, General Electric (GE) consulting presented the results of a U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) sponsored study testing if wind turbines can be controlled to manage the stability of the electric grid. The authors found that wind turbines might actually be a valuable tool for controlling and stabilizing the grid in the future, disputing the conventional notion that wind energy doesn’t play well with the grid. To understand the source of this counterintuitive result—and its implications—let’s review the key aspect of power grid control at play here: frequency regulation.
Acting air chief Janet McCabe said the agency will accept comments through Dec. 1, adding to one of the longest comment periods ever for a rulemaking. EPA unveiled the rule proposal June 2. “We hope that additional time will give those entities wishing to submit comments the time they need to engage with us, ask questions, and ultimately provide input that will help ensure that in the end this plan is practical, flexible and achievable,” she said.
Rhode Island will have a major role to play in the offshore wind industry, even though a developer chose to use a Massachusetts port to build a large wind farm, Governor Lincoln Chafee said Monday. Rhode Island officials had hoped that Cape Wind would use New Bedford and Rhode Island’s Quonset Point for the staging and construction of a proposed 130-turbine wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, bringing jobs and economic activity to both states. Cape Wind announced Friday that it had signed a lease agreement with Massachusetts.
A new study that evaluated bird mortalities at wind farms across North America found that collisions with wind-turbine blades annually kill less than 1 percent of the smallest and most common birds on the continent, a conclusion that the study’s sponsors say points to the need to focus bird conservation on climate change, loss of habitat and other more significant threats.