While Republicans in Congress strategize about how to gut carbon regulations for power plants, at least one among them has had some direct exposure to the critical choices states will have to make if U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan moves forward. Rep. Kevin Cramer, 54, was one of North Dakota’s electricity regulators for nine years before being elected to the state’s only House seat. His successors back home will have to help craft plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s power sector while keeping electricity affordable and reliable.
There’s no question that when it comes to complying with U.S. EPA’s looming regulations requiring the power sector to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent, cities will need to play a major role. After all, as a recent report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy pointed out, two-thirds of the world’s energy consumption — and three-quarters of its greenhouse gas emissions — occurs in cities or broader urban areas.
Westar Energy said Tuesday it plans to purchase energy from a wind farm to be developed in Pratt County, Kan. The Topeka-based utility said the purchase will boost its renewable energy commitment from all sources to about 1,300 megawatts— the equivalent of the power consumption of about half the homes it serves.
Solar farms are blooming across California’s deserts, wind turbines are climbing the Sierra, photovoltaic roofs are shimmering over suburbs, and Teslas are the Silicon Valley elite’s new ride. A clean energy rush is transforming the Golden State so quickly that nearly a quarter of its electricity now comes from renewable sources, and new facilities, especially solar, are coming online at a rapid rate. Last year, California became the first state to get more than 5 percent of its electricity from the sun.
Governors Urge Congress to Act Quickly to Extend the Renewable Energy Production and Investment Tax Credits
The chairman and vice chairman of the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition sent a letter to House and Senate leadership today urging Congress to approve a multi-year extension of the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC) as soon as possible. The most recently passed extension expired last year. Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad told Congressional leaders that the recent Wind Vision report emphasized the importance of near-term policy support to prevent an industry slow down and the loss of manufacturing to foreign markets.
The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition has urged the US Congress to extend tax credits for renewable energy production. In a letter to House and Senate leadership, the chairman and vice chairman pressed Congress to approve a multi-year extension of the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC) as soon as possible. The most recently passed extension expired last year. Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad told Congressional leaders that the recent Wind Vision report highlighted the value of near-term policy support to prevent a slowdown in the industry which would include the loss of manufacturing to foreign markets.
Tension over an amendment on a Nevada state Senate bill that re-evaluates the solar net metering cap appears to have dialed down, even as lawmakers expressed frustration over lobbying tactics. The Nevada Assembly’s Committee on Commerce and Labor heard testimony from industry and state officials Wednesday on S.B. 374, which proposed assigning the state’s Public Utilities Commission to determine a new net metering tariff that would satisfy both parties without shifting additional costs to ratepayers, said primary sponsor state Sen. Patricia Farley (R) during the hearing.
“Early headlines about the EIA’s report on the Clean Power Plan don’t tell the whole story. The analysis actually shows that the Clean Power Plan is affordable,” said Steve Clemmer, director of energy research and analysis at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Clemmer said Congress can help with the Clean Power Plan’s implementation by extending renewable energy tax credits. He said EIA showed states could meet EPA’s proposed carbon cuts, and even exceed them, particularly through regional collaboration.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon limits for power plants are projected to cause 90 gigawatts of coal plant capacity to retire by 2040 so that states can comply, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected Friday. That is more than double the 40 gigawatts that the EIA, the independent data arm of the Energy Department, predicted would be shut down in that time period if it weren’t for the climate rule. The United States currently has 1,212 coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 329.8 gigawatts.
A new analysis from the federal government’s energy statisticians finds the Obama administration’s plan to reduce the power sector’s heat-trapping carbon emissions would raise electricity prices 4.9 percent above their current trajectory by 2020. The Energy Information Administration will release projections today that the draft rule would spur a quick wave of coal plant retirements — 90 gigawatts, rather than 40 GW, between 2014 and 2040. Most of the power plant retirements would happen by 2020, when the first requirements for emissions reductions begin. EIA says the proposed rule would require “significant investment” to handle rapidly growing supplies of wind, solar and other renewable sources of energy, including for transmission lines and other electric grid infrastructure.