Several renewable energy developers and equipment manufacturers yesterday launched a new coalition to push legislation that would extend to their sectors the ability to establish partnerships that have long been prevalent among oil and gas companies as a way to avoid corporate taxes and more easily raise money from investors. The Financing America’s Investment in Renewables (FAIR) Coalition plans to lobby Congress to allow wind, solar, efficiency and other clean energy firms to establish master limited partnerships (MLPs), pass-through entities that fossil fuel firms have used for decades.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed a controversial bill into law this afternoon that will double the renewable energy standard for rural electric cooperatives in the state, drawing cheers from environmental leaders. Hickenlooper’s signature was the last obstacle in front of S.B. 252, which will require electric co-ops with more than 100,000 customers to increase the minimum amount of renewable energy offered to 20 percent from the current 10 percent by 2020.
Simply put, the Renewable Portfolio Standard is working — for everyday Mainers and businesses alike. In light of our struggling economy, programs such as the RPS should be celebrated and protected. So what could possibly have motivated Gov. Paul LePage to devote an entire weekly radio address to attacking the program? And why are some elected officials pushing legislation that would dismantle it? A new report by the Maine Conservation Alliance, Maine’s Majority Education Fund and Maine People’s Alliance, issued earlier this month, sheds some light on the powerful forces fueling LePage and his allies’ efforts to weaken Maine’s RPS: Charles and David Koch, billionaire industrialists from Kansas and owners of the second largest private company in the U.S. with revenues estimated at $100 billion a year.
Heineman announced Tuesday morning that he had signed 33 bills into law, but left four measures, including the wind bill, unsigned until late afternoon. The governor said he signed the wind measure, Legislative Bill 104, only because it included an amendment to prevent a half-cent increase in local sales taxes in Omaha.
The Interior Department today announced that next month it will hold its first competitive lease sale for offshore wind in the Atlantic Ocean, a move hailed as historic by industry officials and clean energy advocates. The department on July 31 will auction the rights to develop two wind farms on more than 250 square miles off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, an area believed to contain nearly 3,500 megawatts of wind power.
The failed attempt to pass climate legislation at the start of the Obama administration has fueled a renewed conflict over what went wrong, which offers useful insight — and potential implications — for what lies ahead. The retrospective, in particular, could bolster the president’s promise to pursue sweeping regulatory action to circumvent the continuing congressional deadlock.
Portland General Electric Co. (POR), a utility that serves about 800,000 customers in northwest Oregon, agreed to buy a wind farm under development in Washington State that’s expected to cost as much as $535 million.
The utility will buy the second phase of Puget Sound Energy Inc.’s Lower Snake River wind farm near Dayton, Washington, and expects to complete the deal in August, PGE said today in a statement.
The carbon dioxide cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in June 2009 did so with scant Republican support — but if it came to the floor today, the GOP tally might be zero. The five GOP supporters of the measure by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) who are still roaming the halls of the Capitol — eight voted for it in total — are increasingly reluctant to talk about climate change with reporters. Three others are gone — one voluntarily, two because they lost elections.
At least a half-dozen states saw an introduction of legislation to repeal or weaken RPS laws, though none has been enacted. And renewable proponents were able to go on the offense in a few states like Colorado, where legislators voted to strengthen an existing RPS. The repeal push is being driven by many of the same conservative groups that have lobbied against federal policies like the production tax credit, which Congress extended in January over the objection of some tea party-backed lawmakers.
More than six years after he departed the Republican Party to become an independent, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee made another shift today, registering as a Democrat. A spokeswoman for the governor’s office told The Providence Journal that Chafee’s decision came as “a recognition that the Democratic Party and he are aligned on policies and principles.”