White House doubles down on solar, revs up PACE programs

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

The White House is renewing its efforts to deploy solar power, bring more people into solar jobs and finance clean energy projects with a funding mechanism that has proved controversial in the past. As part of the Clean Energy Savings for All Initiative, which does not require new congressional appropriations, the departments of Energy, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs and U.S. EPA are backing new initiatives to reach a goal of bringing 1 gigawatt of solar to low- and moderate-income families by decade’s end.

Clean energy on the rise in Texas, and that’s good news

Source: By John Hall, San Antonio Express-News • Posted: Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

As a native Texan, summer brings to mind many activities, like swimming, outdoor concerts and family barbecues. It also makes me think of the hot summer sun. But this year, as millions of Texans are cranking up the AC to stave off heat, I can rest a little easier knowing that our state’s electricity is increasingly being powered by cleaner, less polluting resources. That’s because market forces are leading to coal’s rapid decline, resulting in a cleaner electric grid in the Lone Star State. According to a new analysis from the Brattle Group and the Texas Clean Energy Coalition, natural gas and renewable energy — such as that from wind turbines and solar panels — are on the rise in Texas.

Solar energy powering up in Illinois

Source: By Steve Tarter, Journal Star • Posted: Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Solar energy may finally be rising out of the darkness in Illinois. “The (solar) market is beginning to ripen here in the Midwest. The industry has been strong for a number of years on the east and west coasts,” said Jason Hawksworth, founder of Hawk Energy Solutions in Washington. Hawk Energy, a company that designs, builds and provides financial information on solar projects, recently collaborated with Ruyle Mechanical Services, a business in Downtown Peoria, on the installation of a solar system on the company’s roof. The solar system is expected to yield a $22,000 profit in five years along with covering the system’s $62,500 cost.

GOP convention kicks off — minus climate-friendly Republicans

Source: Evan Lehmann, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Eleven House Republicans who are trying to change their party’s attitude on climate change appear to be skipping the GOP convention beginning here today. Several also say they won’t vote for presumed presidential nominee Donald Trump. The decision signals a sense of foreboding about Trump’s candidacy by some of the party’s most visible supporters of tackling global warming. The group of lawmakers are working on a package of bills to cut greenhouse gas emissions by promoting clean energy and other programs that they believe could appeal to some conservatives.

Merkley plans 100% renewable power push

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley is planning to introduce multiple bills in coming months to move the U.S. power mix to 100 percent renewable sources by midcentury. The plan is backed by environmentalists like co-founder Bill McKibben. Merkley made the announcement last week at the Netroots Nation conference in St. Louis on a panel with billionaire green activist Tom Steyer, which focused on Merkley’s “Keep It in the Ground Act.”

House bill looks to streamline permitting of renewables on federal land

Source: By Matthew Bandy, SNL • Posted: Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

In a rare moment of bipartisan agreement on renewable energy, Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee spoke in favor of a bill intended to streamline the permitting process for developers of renewable energy projects on federal land. By “shortcutting the tedious and costly environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act,” the bill, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2015, H.R. 2663, would help renewable projects that are “hampered by bureaucratic red tape,” Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said at a July 13 hearing held by the subcommittee.

Lawsuit Over Nation’s 1st Offshore Wind Farm Is Dismissed

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought over the nation’s first offshore wind farm. The lawsuit was filed in 2015 by plaintiffs including the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association and others. They argued that utility National Grid’s deal to purchase power from the wind farm violated federal law and would result in a significant increase to their electric bills.

Are floating turbines the future of wind energy?

Source: By Jennifer Johnson, Renewable Energy • Posted: Monday, July 18th, 2016

Wind turbine technology has come a long way in the quarter of a century since the world’s first offshore wind farm, Denmark’s Vindeby, was installed. The first turbines placed at sea had a capacity of roughly .45MW and stood just 52.5m tall. Manufacturers have since developed larger and more effective turbines, but innovation in wind energy is far from over.

New proposal calls for Utah, other states to have more participation in overseeing regional power grid

Source: By EMMA PENROD. The Salt Lake Tribune • Posted: Monday, July 18th, 2016

A revised document describing the guiding principals for the governance of California’s proposed 11-state electrical grid calls for broader participation from other states and sets deadlines for the implementation of a new Independent System Operator.

Hawaii Commission Says No to Major Electric Utility Merger

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, July 18th, 2016

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has voted to not approve a merger between Florida-based NextEra and Hawaii’s largest utility, saying the companies didn’t show they would provide adequate benefits to ratepayers or help the state meet its aggressive renewable energy goals.