Last week, the New York Times reported on an exciting new energy project that is scheduled to begin testing off the coast of Oregon in early October. A company called Ocean Power Technologies is going to lower a 260-ton generator into the Pacific ocean, just 2.5 miles from the shore, in order to capture renewable energy from waves. The buoy generator will link up to the grid and, if it works, could generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes. Like many new experiments in renewable energy, the Oregon project was partially funded by a grant from the Department of Energy. In previous decades, the Department of Energy drove basic research by operating giant government-funded labs, but under the leadership of Energy Secretary and Nobel Laureate Steven Chu, the agency has transformed itself into something different: the biggest, greenest venture capital firm in the world.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s absence at a House Natural Resources hearing this week will loom large as lawmakers, industry groups and one clean energy advocate debate the Obama administration’s controversial plan to upgrade the electric grid using power marketing administrations. The secretary declined a second request to answer questions in person about a memo he sent to the country’s four administrations in March, triggering sharp criticism from House Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). Chu also declined to testify at a hearing in April because he was traveling (E&E Daily, April 27).
Sixty conservative groups on Thursday urged Congress to kill a popular wind energy incentive. In a letter to lawmakers, the groups said the federal government should not prop up wind energy with a 2.2 cent per kilowatt-hour tax credit.
Every odd couple agrees on something. During an hourlong forum on energy development, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso (R) and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) differed on how to advance solar and wind energy development, the source of climate change and whether President Obama’s energy strategy is effective.
President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have spelled out their views on climate change in a bit more detail than they usually do on the campaign trail in response to questions from a group of scientific organizations. In written statements posted on Tuesday at the Web site of Sciencedebate.org, the candidates added some clarity to their views on global warming, but in a way that also raised some questions about their consistency.
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on Wednesday backed nominee Mitt Romney’s opposition to extending a wind energy tax credit that is sacrosanct to Iowa voters, a position that could cost the Republican ticket support in this battleground state. “We think these tax credits are important to get industries up and running, but we don’t think they should continue on indefinitely. What we think would be more helpful for all renewable energies is to lower tax rates on businesses,” Ryan told Des Moines television station KCCI when asked whether he agreed with Romney that the credit should be allowed to expire at the end of the year.
Hitachi Zosen Corp., Toshiba Corp., JFE Steel Corp. and three other companies have teamed up to invest about $1.53 billion over a decade in offshore wind projects, according to a Japanese newspaper. The project is expected to produce 300,000 kilowatts of energy and could be located off the southern Japanese coast, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, who is almost certain to become the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the next Congress regardless of whether his party keeps the Senate majority, said today that he sees “a lot of opportunities for bipartisanship” in the years ahead.
Man-made global warming is happening, President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney agreed in answers released today on the independent website ScienceDebate, but neither candidate provided specifics about what kind of future policies would be needed to slow climate change or guard against its adverse effects.
Clean Line Energy, a Texas-based company, is planning to build 500 miles of power lines across Iowa and Illinois dubbed the “Rock Island Clean Line.” Officials from Clean Line were in Waterloo last week to meet with interested contractors to talk about the project’s needs.