News

Broad voter support for federal ‘nudge’ on renewables — poll 

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

More than two-thirds of U.S. voters across the political spectrum approve of federal policies that promote “automatic” use of renewables, according to new polling conducted by President Obama’s first regulatory czar. The recent survey of 563 Americans devised by renowned Harvard University legal scholar and former White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs head Cass Sunstein explores voter attitudes toward “soft” government interventions intended to “nudge” behaviors while avoiding strict mandates. Administered by Survey Sampling International, the poll has a 4.1-point margin of error.

Obama admin report touts economic benefits of U.S. action

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

The United States’ future with global climate change action looks a lot brighter than its future without it, U.S. EPA argues in a peer-reviewed scientific report unveiled today at the White House. The report examines two scenarios — one that keeps warming to 2 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels and another that doesn’t — in an effort to refute critics of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan who say it will hurt the economy. The analysis looks ahead to 2050 and 2100 to show dueling snapshots of a United States where warming is contained and others in which it is not.

CEOs grapple with an elephant in the room — the future of electricity 

Source: Joel Kirkland, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk entered a New Orleans ballroom full of utility CEOs earlier this month, he did so as an odd evangelist for expanding the power grid. The Silicon Valley electric car entrepreneur sought to reassure America’s powerful investor-owned utilities that the story of their industry doesn’t end with flat or declining electricity demand. It doesn’t end with rooftop solar or energy storage. With summer heat rising off the Louisiana bayou, Musk was there to sell an electric dreamscape. In his rocket to the future, the realignment of the utility business around efficiency, natural gas and zero-carbon technology like electric cars and solar panels is profitable. Utility profits would rise with power demand for Tesla’s latest model. Rooftop solar panels would pull some suburban homes off the electric grid, but industrial-scale battery packs would help manage a broad, interconnected array of centralized and distributed sources of energy.

Developers take steps toward erecting turbines in Md. 

Source: By Timothy B. Wheeler, Baltimore Sun, • Posted: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

The winners of a federal wind energy lease auction have begun surveying the Atlantic Ocean floor near Ocean City, Md., as part of a first step toward building a wind farm there. U.S. Wind Inc. has also set up offices in a Baltimore high-rise, where executives are working to design turbines and attract financing. This is the development phase,” U.S. Wind manager Paul Rich said. Rich has previously worked with Deepwater Wind on developing a five-turbine farm off Rhode Island.

E.P.A. Warns of High Cost of Climate Change

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

In the absence of global action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the United States by the end of the century may face up to $180 billion in economic losses because of drought and water shortages, according to a reportreleased Monday by the White House and Environmental Protection Agency. White House officials said the report, which analyzes the economic costs of a changing climate across 20 sectors of the American economy, is the most comprehensive effort to date to quantify the impacts of global warming.

Texas Wind: Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Source: By ALISA BARBA, Inside Energy • Posted: Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Oil and gas dominate the Texas energy market but wind is growing exponentially. Wind power now provides 10 per cent of the state\’s electricity. Energy production in Texas is dominated by oil and gas. But the state also leads the United States in the production of wind power. Some energy analysts suggest that wind power’s success in the Lone Star state has now become its challenge.

U.K. under fire from wind industry over plan to end subsidies 

Source: By Jim Pickard, Financial Times • Posted: Monday, June 22nd, 2015

The United Kingdom’s government announced this week that it would end onshore wind power subsidies one year ahead of schedule.

The Renewable Obligation subsidy for new onshore wind farms will close by April 2016, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said. Once the Renewable Obligation subsidies end, companies will have to compete for limited subsidies. The wind industry has threatened to sue if legislation to end the subsidies passes.

Moniz urges utility sector to grapple with core issues around electric grid’s future 

Source: Rod Kuckro, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 22nd, 2015

It was hard not to think about the final scene from the film “Casablanca” last week as Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and the head of the Edison Electric Institute signed a memorandum outlining a sweeping joint effort to expand the market for electric vehicles.

GOP paints bull’s-eye on Clean Power Plan with week of votes and hearings 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Capitol Hill Republicans will use President Obama’s flagship carbon dioxide rule for target practice this week, as the House considers two bills on the floor that would prevent U.S. EPA from implementing its Clean Power Plan while the Senate and House each holds a hearing to highlight its costs. The House will vote this week on a bill by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) that would allow states to defer compliance with the existing power plant rule or opt out of it altogether. The measure, H.R. 2042, would give all states a reprieve from writing implementation plans — which would be due to EPA beginning next year — until judicial review has concluded. It is scheduled to hit the floor Wednesday.

Record Year for Renewable Power; Heat, Transport Stay Fossil

Source: By Reuters • Posted: Friday, June 19th, 2015

The growth of renewable energy outpaced that of fossil fuels in the electricity sector last year, with a record 135 gigawatts of capacity added from wind, solar, hydropower and other natural sources, a new study shows. That’s more than the generating capacity of all nuclear reactors in the United States and slightly less than Germany’s installed capacity from all power sources.

The annual report released early Thursday in Europe by Paris-based REN21, a nonprofit group that promotes renewable energy, underscored how China, the world’s top consumer of coal, has become a global leader in clean energy, too.