A Norwegian firm with extensive experience building wind farms in Europe will construct the first U.S. offshore wind farm on the Great Lakes, supplying up to 18 megawatts of electricity from turbines sited on Lake Erie near Cleveland. The wind farm, to be known as the Icebreaker project, is projected to cost $120 million and will be a critical test of wind power’s viability on the Great Lakes, according to the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo), a public-private partnership based in northeastern Ohio.
Shares of U.S. clean-energy companies jumped Tuesday as Congress neared a deal that would revive or extend tax credits for the wind and solar industries. SunEdison Inc., the world’s biggest renewable-energy developer, rose 13 percent at the close in New York while rooftop solar provider Sunrun Inc. gained 4.3 percent. Wind-farm builder Pattern Energy Group Inc. climbed 4 percent.
Congressional leaders appear to be moving closer to an agreement to end the oil export ban and fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, although key senators said major hurdles remain on policy riders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would not discuss details of the ongoing talks but signaled that he anticipated releasing text of both the omnibus and tax extenders packages late yesterday afternoon.
For state air regulators, the big question for 2016 is whether to choose rate- or mass-based compliance plans to satisfy U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. For the states that decide simpler mass-based plans to cap power plant CO2 emissions are the way to go, an even thornier issue awaits. It involves how to allocate emissions allowances.
Stocks in renewable energy companies rose on Monday, the first day of trading after world leaders agreed to a major climate change agreement. A top solar energy index was up 4.5 percent and a separate clean energy fund rose by 1.4 percent on Monday, Reuters reports. Fossil fuel companies, meanwhile, saw their prices tumble: Coal giant Peabody Energy Corp. fell by 12.6 percent, while Consol Energy Inc. dropped by 3.3 percent.
The United States got almost everything it wanted in the landmark climate deal struck here this weekend. The historic agreement by 195 countries handed President Obama an international legacy on global warming without crossing any red lines drawn by U.S. negotiators. And it allowed the administration to tell the American public that it had pushed China, India and other major developing nations to shoulder an unprecedented share of the responsibility for cutting emissions.
White House and congressional negotiators are trading final offers over U.S. oil exports and concessions for home-state interests as they move toward wrapping up a tax and spending deal that would cap Congress’ year. House Speaker Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers he expected compromise legislation to be publicly released today — a measure that would deliver victories for to both sides. But the Wisconsin Republican provided few details. The remarks, which Ryan made in a conference call with fellow GOP legislators Monday, were conveyed by an official who described the private conversation on condition of anonymity.
Energy and environment spending and policy issues remained sticking points last night in the ongoing negotiations over an omnibus appropriations bill and related efforts to extend a list of tax provisions. But the end is in sight, said lawmakers, and supporters of lifting decades-old restrictions on crude oil exports are expressing optimism about a policy change in their direction. A deal could become public as soon as today. With federal spending authority running out tomorrow, another short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open is likely.
Capitol Hill could learn as early as today whether lawmakers can seal a blockbuster end-of-year spending and tax agreement that would end the ban on crude oil exports and extend key renewable energy tax breaks. According to one lobbyist, an export deal included in a broader tax package would extend the PTC and ITC for five years, with the ITC qualification terms being adjusted to allow facilities to qualify when construction commences.
Texas already churns out more wind energy than any other state, and its solar power sector is rapidly growing — in some cases, pushing high-polluting coal plants out of the market. Those trends will need to continue if the fast-growing state plans to meet its carbon-cutting goal under President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. But quickly adding large amounts of renewable energy to the grid carries challenges, particularly since the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.