News

Obama vows to train 75K solar workers by 2020 

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2015

The White House today launched an initiative to provide military veterans with skills to join the solar industry as part of an overall goal of training 75,000 solar workers by 2020 — a 50 percent increase from a target set by the Energy Department a year ago.

Cheap oil prices chop jobs by thousands

Source: By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY • Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2015

Planned oil industry layoffs in the U.S. are approaching 100,000 in the past four months with more likely to come. Oil-producing states such as North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are catching the brunt of the cutbacks just as consumers are enjoying cheaper gasoline prices brought on by the 55% drop in crude oil prices since last June. “The entire Midwest from Texas to North Dakota is really feeling the effects,” says Moody’s Analytics economist Aaron Smith.

Senate bill in the works to expand FERC’s authority to site power lines 

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2015

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) will introduce legislation in the coming months to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority to override state resistance to certain power line projects. The proposal would give FERC the authority “as a backstop in the rare case where states have been unable to act on priority projects” that have been selected as part of FERC’s regional transmission planning process under Order No. 1000, Heinrich told attendees at a Southwestern summit on renewable energy transmission development yesterday. Heinrich’s bill could revive a years-long controversy over how much power the federal government should have to issue construction permits for transmission development when a state withholds approval.

Top DOE official previews high-profile infrastructure report 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2015

While Kenderdine offered few specifics about the report, she outlined the agency’s focus on the challenges the United States’ power lines, railways, pipelines and power plants are facing from a surge of increasingly violent weather, age, competing interests and shifting trends with the discovery of shale gas. DOE has held 14 stakeholder outreach meetings across the country, as well as a meeting in Canada and a conference call with officials in Mexico to discuss the QER.

Nebraska committee advance renewable energy tax credit bill

Source: By Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

A proposed tax credit for Nebraska-based renewable energy projects has advanced out of a legislative committee. The Revenue Committee voted 5-2 on Wednesday to send the bill to the full Legislature for debate. The measure by Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha would increase the state credit for facilities that generate electricity with wind and other renewable sources. The measure is designed to attract in-state investors and help Nebraska compete with nearby states that offer tax credits.

FERC rejects operator’s bid to salvage demand response 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a split vote last night rejected PJM Interconnection’s bid to salvage its ability to use demand-response programs, casting the proposal as “premature” given the issue may be taken up by the Supreme Court. FERC Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur and Commissioners Philip Moeller, Colette Honorable and Norman Bay denied PJM’s plan to change the way demand response is treated in annual capacity auctions, changes that would apply for the 2018/2019 delivery year. Commissioner Tony Clark cast the lone dissenting vote, calling on the agency to be proactive.

Siemens Proves Wind Energy’s “Outstanding” Potential

Source: By  Joshua S Hill, CleanTechnia • Posted: Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Germany multinational Siemens announced the results of a “detailed ecological review of its wind turbines.” The study was the result of efforts to maintain “a high degree of transparency” for its customers and the authorities, and was aimed at reviewing “the actual benefits of green power for the environment.” Many critics of wind energy (of which there are not many) often attempt to highlight supposed inadequacies in the manufacturing process which they say belittles the supposed environmental benefits resulting from the operation of wind turbines. Siemens study, however, puts the lie to this suggestion.

Diverse central states echo reliability concerns at final Clean Power Plan conference 

Source: Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

The changes in power plant fleets that will be required by U.S. EPA’s Clean Power plan are too much, too fast, and threaten electric affordability and reliability, a group of utilities and state regulators from up and down the nation’s central corridor said here yesterday. The comments came during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final regional hearing on implementation of the proposed rule, which calls for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent over the next 15 years.

It doesn’t really matter what you believe’ — former TVA chairman talks of life after fossil fuels 

Source: Edward Klump, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

“Let me just remind you that we have an uninvited guest in this room that’s sitting next to each and every one of you and hovering over you — and she is called Mother Nature,” Freeman, a former chairman at the Tennessee Valley Authority, told a crowd here. “And it doesn’t really matter what you believe; she’s here, and she will dominate the energy policy of this country for the rest of your life,” he said.

Solar Power To Become Cheapest Source Of Energy In Many Regions By 2025, German Experts Say

Source: By Federico Guerrini, Forbes • Posted: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Solar power still amounts for a small share of net electricity generation around the world. In the USA, for instance, as of December 2014 it was responsible for just 0.45% of the total electricity produced. Things are changing quite quickly, however, and if the German think tank Agora Energiewende is right, faster than expected.