As diplomats try to piece together a complicated new global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a sweeping new study out by the U.K. government today takes a hard look at what could happen if they fail. The worst-case scenario assessment of what a world in which global average temperatures climb far above the threshold considered safe warns of crop deterioration to in the midwestern United States, chronic water shortage along the Tigris-Euphrates River Basin, and 100-year flood events becoming 40 times more likely in Shanghai and 200 times more likely in New York.
The Australian government is blocking the country’s $7.4 billion renewable energy fund from investing in wind power. Officials in Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government have instructed the country’s Clean Energy Finance Corp. to change its investment strategy and move away from wind power, Bloomberg Business reports.
Abbott said the fund should be “investing in new and emerging technologies and certainly not existing wind farms.” Abbott eventually wants to abolish the renewable energy fund altogether.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today debuted legislation to open up renewable energy tax credits to Native American tribes. While the Senate scrambles to extend tax incentives for the expanding alternative energy sector, Heinrich and Grijalva offered their bills to give federally recognized Indian tribes access to breaks offered under Section 48 of the tax code. Tribes are cut out under the current system because they are not tax-liable entities, a requirement to receive the benefit.
“[A]s far as we know, all fossil fuel producers in the area served by the grid will be hurt equally and all renewable energy producers in the area will be helped equally,” he wrote. “If there’s any disproportionate adverse effect felt by out-of-state producers or any disproportionate advantage enjoyed by in-state producers, it hasn’t been explained to this court. And it’s far from clear how the mandate might hurt out-of-state consumers either.”
On a vast tract of old North Carolina farmland, crews are getting ready to build something the South has never seen: a commercial-scale wind energy farm. The $600 million project by Spanish developer Iberdrola Renewables LLC will put 102 turbines on 22,000 acres near the coastal community of Elizabeth City, with plans to add about 50 more. Once up and running, it could generate about 204 megawatts, or enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes. It would be the first large onshore wind farm in a region with light, fluctuating winds that has long been a dead zone for wind power.
he world’s largest developer of wind-energy farms has teamed up with online retail giant Amazon to build a major wind farm in coastal North Carolina. Amazon, which is building a network of wind farms and also testing Tesla storage batteries, announced the project Monday. The Amazon Wind Farm US East, to be built in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties, will power the online retailer’s cloud-computing division, Amazon Web Services, as part of a corporate goal of achieving energy sustainability.
The Obama administration on Friday urged the Supreme Court to reverse a lower-court ruling invalidating a major initiative to encourage reduced electricity consumption. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in court documents that the federal appeals court ruling misread the Federal Power Act and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deserves deference in its interpretation of the law. At issue is FERC’s 2011 Order 745, which requires grid operators to compensate electricity users for committing to not use power at peak times at the same rate as the operators purchase electricity from generators.
A five-year regional smart grid project spanning five states in the Pacific Northwest recently ended with a healthy note of optimism from the consultant that ran the pilot. Project leader Battelle, which oversaw the experiment for the Energy Department, praised the demonstration as one of the nation’s largest rollouts of a complex smart grid to date, noting a number of lessons learned on the ground both good and bad. The project was a $178 million affair involving 11 utilities; the Bonneville Power Administration; two universities; and multiple companies in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. It was funded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act through DOE along with matching funds from participants.
Multiple state environmental regulators will meet Tuesday with senior Obama administration staff in an attempt to shape the final version of the forthcoming U.S. EPA rule to curb carbon emissions from power plants. The meeting is the latest in a string that began about a month ago with a visit by a six-person delegation from the Sierra Club to an Office of Management and Budget conference room in Washington, D.C. OMB, an arm of the White House, is leading the interagency review that will culminate in the final EPA rule being released sometime in August, according to the current administration schedule.
The U.S. Department of Energy wants 20 percent of the nation’s energy to come from wind power in the next 15 years, up from the 5 percent wind generates now. A new Energy Department report finds that wind technology featuring taller towers and larger turbines may get the nation to that goal by opening up areas to wind farm development that were previously dead zones. New data based on wind resources at higher elevations show that the Southeast, which currently has no commercial wind farms, could be a viable location.
Here’s a look at the top wind-producing states, as measured in megawatts, as well as the eleven states that currently have no commercial wind power