Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is looking to convince wary Democrats against blocking the first energy bill conference committee in a decade. The Senate could vote as early as next week on whether to launch a conference with the House to seek compromise on energy reform legislation. The House voted before the Memorial Day recess to begin talks.
A few weeks ago, the United States Senate passed their first appropriations bill of the year by a vote of 90-8, which explicitly endorses doubling clean energy research and development, but includes only modest increases in actual funding. When the House and Senate ultimately send an appropriations bill to the President, it should include significantly more funding for innovation if America hopes to not diminish its lead in this emerging economic revolution.
In the past decade South Dakota has seen tremendous job creation and capital investment in renewable energy. Wind power has led the way by contributing over $2 billion in direct capital investment and directly creating well over 500 new jobs. Those wind power jobs are in operations and maintenance, construction, manufacturing and many support sectors. In addition, wind projects produce lease payments for landowners and increase the tax base for local governments and school districts.
The Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission said Thursday that it had signed an agreement for as much as 200 megawatts of transmission space on the cross-state line. The group represents municipally owned utilities in the state that pool their resources to buy power and is administered by the Missouri Public Utility Alliance. The contract could bolster Grain Belt’s case with the Missouri Public Service Commission, which single-handedly blocked the project last summer on a 3-2 vote. While members acknowledged it may benefit other states, they weren’t convinced it was worth it for Missouri ratepayers.
Eleven energy and technology firms said on Monday offshore wind can be as cheap as gas and coal within a decade, but said European nations must do more to ensure a stable legal framework to inspire investment in zero carbon generation. Germany’s RWE, E.On and Siemens signed an open letter, alongside Norwegian oil firm Statoil, Sweden’s Vattenfall and General Electric of the United States, saying they can produce for less than 80 euros ($90.80) per megawatt hour per project by 2025.
Congressional efforts to approve the first major energy bill in nearly a decade are in jeopardy amid a partisan dispute over oil drilling, water for drought-stricken California and potential rollback of wildlife protections. A bipartisan bill the Senate approved in April would boost oil and natural gas production while encouraging renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, and increased energy efficiency.
Congress is close to having the first energy bill conference in more than a decade, but when or whether the Senate will join the House in formally launching negotiations remains up in the air. Before leaving for the Memorial Day recess, House leaders named conferees to reconcile the chamber’s revised energy bill with the Senate’s own package, S. 2012.
Congressional leaders will continue their push this week to pass individual fiscal 2017 spending bills. But partisan election-year politics, a limited legislative calendar and other factors make it a long shot that many of those bills will make it to the president’s desk. There are a host of reasons for lawmakers to start planning now for a catchall, year-end omnibus spending package. Otherwise, keeping the government open will require a continuing resolution, leaving agencies stuck with current spending levels until next year. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) insists the surprise defeat of the House energy and water spending bill, H.R. 5055, on the floor two weeks ago is not a sign the appropriations process has gone off the rails.
NextEra Energy Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. haven’t terminated their $2.6 billion merger agreement after the island state missed a deadline for deciding whether to approve the transaction. The accord for NextEra to take over Hawaiian Electric requires action by one of the parties to end it and didn’t automatically lapse on their June 3 target date, the companies said in a statement Saturday. Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Chair Randy Iwase said Friday that he hoped the three-member panel would issue a ruling on the deal this month.
Looking at the big picture, moving to LCPSs could provide real, significant benefits to the United States. Just adding existing nuclear capacity to RPSs in the states that have both an RPS and existing nuclear would more than double the statutory requirements for clean energy in this country, from 420 terawatt-hours annually by 2030 to 940 terawatt-hours. Assuring this additional power comes from low-carbon sources would prevent 320 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions — 17 percent lower than would otherwise be the case.