News

The Challenge of Cutting Coal Dependence

Source: By Eduardo Porter, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, September 1st, 2016

It won’t be easy to get rid of coal. Worried the nation might miss its 2020 target to drastically cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the German government proposed a steep levy last year on the most heavily polluting generators. The tax was intended to deliver a decisive blow against lignite or brown coal, the dirtiest fuel around and Germany’s main source of electricity.

Paris deal will cost at least $1.28T — economist

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 1st, 2016

With signals President Obama is on the verge of formally joining the landmark Paris climate agreement, an environmental economist is investigating whether the United States can actually afford to hold up its end of the deal. The rough estimate for the cost of hitting the target ranges from $42 billion to $176 billion every year until 2050, according to Columbia University’s Geoffrey Heal.

South Dakota: Plug Pulled For Now

Source: BY RANDY DOCKENDORF, Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan • Posted: Thursday, September 1st, 2016

A proposed wind farm near Avon has pulled its application for a state permit, one week after nearly 300 people attended a sharply divided public hearing for the project. Prevailing Winds investors withdrew their application Tuesday with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The move came shortly before the three-member PUC held its regular meeting that morning in Pierre.

Eastern U.S. can handle 30% clean power — report

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Wind and solar can supply 30 percent of the annual power for the nation’s Eastern grid without reliability concerns, new research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said. The Eastern Interconnection, which stretches from Maine to New Mexico, currently gets less than 7 percent of its annual power from the two renewable sources. Prior to the study, there was an assumption that 30 percent wind and solar penetration wasn’t possible in the region, said NREL researcher Aaron Bloom. Nobody had conducted a review like NREL’s, which modeled the year 2026 as a test.

Fla. voters OK plan to strike taxes on renewable projects

Source: Kristi E. Swartz, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Florida voters yesterday overwhelmingly approved a measure that removes taxes on renewable energy projects for commercial property, paving the way for solar expansion in the Sunshine State. Roughly 73 percent of voters signed off on Amendment 4, which removes ad valorem, or value-based, taxes on renewable energy projects for commercial property. This would lower the overall cost of those projects for businesses, including the state’s electric companies. Lawmakers, clean energy advocates and business groups immediately released statements praising the vote

Obama to join Paris climate pact ‘as soon as possible’

Source: By Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Thursday, September 1st, 2016

President Obama is planning to formally join the Paris climate agreement “as soon as possible,” a top adviser said. Brian Deese gave the update Monday at a White House briefing with reporters in advance of Obama’s trip this week and next to Asia and other locations. Deese said climate change will be a top agenda item in discussions with Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping, but he did not say whether Obama will sign the agreement on this trip.

The $8 Trillion Fight Over How to Rid America of Fossil Fuel

Source: By Eric Roston, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist, and they’re both wrong. Like many jokes, this one is funny (to economists, anyway) because it’s true. What isn’t so funny is its application to the biggest challenge of the 21st century: How to shed a fossil-fuel energy infrastructure that seems hell-bent on destroying us. There are several camps trying to decide how much we must spend to avoid environmental disaster. Consensus on a grand total is a matter of degree, with estimates varying by as much as $8 trillion.

Granholm does star turn as Clinton energy adviser, surrogate

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Granholm, now a top adviser in Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s transition team and a rumored pick to lead the Energy Department if Clinton is elected, proposed a clean energy policy modeled after the Department of Education’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top. The competitive grant program, which Granholm called a powerful policy and a game changer, helped foster innovation and reforms in state and local K-12 education

Massachusetts Governor announces $700,000 in funding for offshore wind research

Source: By Michelle Froese, Wind Power Engineering & Development • Posted: Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

The funding will support three offshore wind research projects to identify industry workforce training and safety requirements, and establish a multi-university partnership focused on cost-effective Massachusetts’ offshore wind power. The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced $700,000 in funding for nine academic and research institutions across Massachusetts to advance studies relating to offshore wind development, building on the Commonwealth’s existing nation-leading offshore wind innovation activities.

GE joins MIT energy initiative, donates $7.5 million

Source: By Curt Woodward, Boston Globe • Posted: Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

General Electric Co. is joining an energy research program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the goal of tapping new thinking on cutting carbon emissions and replacing fossil fuels, showcasing the kind of partnerships the industrial behemoth is seeking as it relocates its headquarters to Boston. The company will become a member of the MIT Energy Initiative and is donating $7.5 million for its research efforts, particularly in the areas of solar power, energy storage, advanced power grids, and carbon sequestration, officials said.