House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp released his highly anticipated proposal to overhaul the tax code today, aiming to eliminate lucrative tax breaks that touch all energy sectors within a broader draft targeting economywide preferences in pursuit of a lower overall tax rate. The proposal is similar to drafts issued last year by then-Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus. But in the energy space, at least, early indications are that the draft from Camp (R-Mich.) would be more favorable to oil and gas companies and less favorable to renewable energy firms than ideas offered by the Montana Democrat.
Hurricanes are unstoppable, right? Apparently not. An intriguing new computer simulation shows that 78,000 large wind turbines spread across 35,000 square kilometers of ocean outside of New Orleans would have cut Hurricane Katrina’scategory 3 winds at landfall by 129 to 158 kilometers per hour (80 to 98 miles per hour) and reduced the storm surge by 79 percent. The same collection of turbines offshore of New York City would have dropped Hurricane Sandy’s winds by 125 to 140 kph and the surge by up to 34 percent.
Senate Democrats said yesterday that now is the time to lay the foundation for future climate change legislation and international action to address emissions. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the chamber’s newest members, though a veteran of the congressional climate wars, will host a meeting on Capitol Hill tomorrow with more than 100 international legislators who hope to take action domestically to pave the way for an international agreement on climate change in Paris late next year.
The White House intends to act on solutions for combating methane emissions and promoting energy finance as part of its efforts on climate change and a comprehensive federal energy strategy, top officials in the Obama administration said today.
Despite the fact that lawyers were given a narrow question to answer, yesterday’s oral arguments to the Supreme Court touched on all aspects of the ongoing challenge to U.S. EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through construction permits for large-emitting facilities. It also included a reference to bubblegum, a nod to a tobacco industry case and questions about EPA’s upcoming standards for new and existing power plants.
Houston, Texas-based energy transmission company Clean Line Energy Partners and its subsidiary, Rock Island Clean Line, announced here last week a pact whereby Sabre Industries would be the preferred supplier of massive power poles for the proposed Rock Island high voltage direct current (HVDC) power line from O’Brien County in NW Iowa to the 765 kV AC Commonwealth Edison substation in Grundy County, Ill
The next big Texas energy boom does not involve tight gas formations in the Barnett Shale, or deepwater oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico. While fossil resources continue to draw high interest from energy developers and investors in the Lone Star State, Texas’ hottest energy prospect is wind power in West Texas and the Panhandle. That’s where a new surge of wind farm development, estimated at 7,500 megawatts of new generation over the next three years, should convert once-sleepy places like Amarillo, Plainview and Lubbock into renewable energy boomtowns.
One of the most consistent arguments made in favor of renewable energy is that it will create jobs — lots of jobs. But as offshore wind development picks up steam in the United States, the role labor unions will play in manufacturing and deploying the 8,000 or so components in each turbine remains uncertain. While major unions have aided the industry by advocating for legislation supporting offshore wind, other local labor groups have hesitated, especially as much of the initial manufacturing will take place overseas.
The industry case against U.S. EPA’s climate rules doesn’t disqualify the agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, but it could lead to a redefinition of how the agency uses the Clean Air Act, said legal experts. If the justices rule in favor of the petitioners — a coalition of industry groups, business association, and conservative states — EPA will need to re-examine if and how it will control greenhouse gases from new and modified facilities other than power plants that emit tons of climate-warming gases. This includes steel mills, cement kilns, chemical factories and major sources outside of the electric sector.
A divided Supreme Court appeared to search today for a middle ground in the challenge from industry and a dozen states to a U.S. EPA crackdown on heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions. A dozen states and industry groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Chemistry Council want the court to overturn EPA’s inclusion of greenhouse gases in an air permitting programs for emissions from power plants and other industrial sites. During unusually long arguments, the justices frequently fractured along ideological lines, with the liberal wing asking pointed questions of the challengers and conservatives taking issue with EPA.