California’s Senate yesterday accelerated the state’s push for clean energy, passing a bundle of climate bills that aimed to shrink sharply greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable power to 50 percent of electricity and chop in half petroleum use by 2030. The upper chamber’s set of 12 measures also included one calling for two state pension funds, which are the nation’s largest, to divest from thermal coal. Another bill sought to ramp up transit and inner-city rail. There were multiple measures looking to develop plans to help the state adapt as climate change proceeds. The bills still must pass the state’s Assembly, and similar ones from that chamber must be reconciled with Senate versions. But Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D) cast the effort in momentous terms, calling the climate legislation “the most far-reaching not just in California history, but in U.S. history.”
Berkshire Hathaway Energy is hoping to win more Democratic support for its bid to ease purchase requirements for utilities under a 1970s law aimed at boosting renewables and efficiency, even if that means tweaking the language. Jonathan Weisgall, the company’s vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs, made another pitchbefore the House Energy and Power Subcommittee to change the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA.
“Mr. President,” he said, standing over a small dais in the back of the chamber in April, “the distinguished majority leader, the senior senator from Kentucky, is resolutely opposed to any serious conversation about climate change.” Four months into Sen. Mitch McConnell’s quixotic effort to return the U.S. Senate to consensus-building, the Democrat from Rhode Island laid a shot across McConnell’s bow. Whitehouse chastised McConnell for an open letter he sent to governors urging them to ignore a proposed U.S. EPA rule that would require states to build a plan for slashing power-sector carbon emissions.
Precisely how the Empire State will approach distributed generation and energy storage under its “reforming the energy vision” process has begun to take shape with major announcements this and last week by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority on both fronts. NYSERDA, which is officially billed as a public benefit corporation but operates much like a state-run utility, has filed a proposal with state regulators detailing how it wants to approach renewable energy after the state’s renewable portfolio standard ends later this year.Separately, the organization last week announced awards to seven companies looking to scale up or invent new approaches to energy storage.
“I do not see the benefit to Missourians,” Kenney said. A majority of members on the Public Service Commission must vote to allow Clean Line to construct the line, and three of five members spoke against it. That means the project likely will not muster approval when it comes up for a final vote, which could occur as early as a scheduled June 11 meeting. Regulatory agencies in Kansas and Indiana already have approved the Grain Belt Express, and an application for construction in Illinois still is pending.
IKEA, the world’s biggest furniture retailer, pledged on Thursday to spend 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) on renewable energy and ways to help poor nations cope with climate change, in a new sign of companies upstaging governments on the issue. The investments will be “win, win, win. It’s good for customers, good for the climate and good for IKEA too”, Chief Executive Peter Agnefjall told Reuters in an interview.
Continuing the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, California lawmakers approved expansive legislation Wednesday that will require ambitious new renewable energy and pollution standards over the coming decades. In the Senate, the effort was led by President Pro Tem Kevin de León and fellow Democrats, who touted the economic benefits of building a green economy.
“We are pleased that the policy framework that existed before the legislative session, which is helping us to advance our clean energy goals in the state, is largely intact,” said John Hall, Texas director of clean energy for the Environmental Defense Fund. Still, the mood was mixed among Hall and other environmental advocates. Cyrus Reed, conservation director at the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter, said he was “extremely disheartened and disappointed” by two energy bills that made it through.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), passed the spending bill including the wind energy research cuts on May 21, just before Congress left town for a recess from which it returned today. The full House approved its own version of the bill earlier in May on a 240-177 vote. The White House has threatened a veto unless the bill is changed later in the appropriations process, which reportedly is far from over. Research at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has helped advance technologies and drive down the cost of wind power and other renewables, said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan, but such R&D would be cut by about $70 million in the Senate version of the appropriations bill.
Berkshire Hathaway Energy today is poised to make another bid on Capitol Hill to scrap federal requirements for utilities to buy power from small solar generators and cogeneration units. Jonathan Weisgall, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs, is slated to make the pitch before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, according to his prepared testimony.