News

Calif.’s renewable energy rules created a boom, and now also a bust

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

California’s renewable energy mandate has fueled growth of green power so swiftly that utilities here won’t need to buy much more for several years, officials said yesterday. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E) all are on track to hit the state’s 33 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2020. They’ll reach that target with energy already under contract, creating a bust for developers that were hoping for continued growth, experts said at the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) regional summit

Lawmaker looks to broader reform debate to pass bill eliminating energy credits

Source: Nick Juliano and Manuel Quinones, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) yesterday reintroduced legislation aimed at eliminating tax credits for energy producers and suggested he could support broadening the scope of his effort to also target other incentives, such as deductions enjoyed by the oil and gas industry, in an effort to attract bipartisan support to eliminate all energy-related favors as part of a broader tax reform push. Pompeo’s bill, H.R. 259, introduced yesterday with 11 Republican co-sponsors, is virtually identical to legislation he introduced in the previous Congress. It would eliminate more than a dozen tax credits, most notably the production tax credit for wind and other renewable sources, as well as credits for biodiesel, alternative fuels and electric cars.

Treasury, IRS preparing guidance to clarify renewable credit eligibility

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

The Treasury Department and IRS are preparing joint guidance to flesh out the implications of a significant tweak to a key renewable energy tax cut that was signed into law this month, an official said yesterday. The timing of the guidance on the new eligibility requirements for the production tax cut remains unclear. Treasury and IRS need to determine how exactly to define when wind and other renewable energy developers can claim the credit after Congress approved a change to its eligibility requirements.

Rep. Paul Tonko of N.Y. replaces Green on critical House subpanel

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Rep. Paul Tonko of New York will replace Rep. Gene Green of Texas as the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, potentially ushering in a new focus on renewable energy technologies.

Although Green decided to step aside to focus on health issues as a member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, the conservative oil-patch lawmaker will continue to sit on the Environment and Economy Subcommittee, just not as ranking member. Tonko is an ardent supporter of clean energy power and federal incentives and has crafted legislation to improve gas turbine efficiency, authorize wind energy research and development, encourage combined heat and power, advance fuel cell applications, create tax credits for waste heat recapture and require oil companies drilling on public lands to disclose campaign contributions.

China Working to Cut Idled Wind Farm Capacity, Official Says

Source: By Bloomberg News • Posted: Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is making progress in connecting idled wind farms to the electricity grid, helping to address a roadblock slowing the development of wind power. “The issue is in the process of improvement, given the efforts made by grid companies,” Jiang Liping, vice president of the State Grid Energy Research Institute, said in a phone interview on Jan. 10, without disclosing the connection rate. The adoption of wind power in China has been damped by the electricity grid’s ability to handle the influx of energy, forcing the government to impose stricter approvals on new projects. The rate of wind capacity sitting idle could fall to as low as 10 percent this year, compared with 25 percent at the end of 2011, Jun Ying, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s head of research in China, said by e-mail.

Policy uncertainty spurred 2012 plunge in U.S. investments — report

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Clean energy investment in the United States fell nearly a third last year compared with 2011, largely driven by uncertainty around the fate of a key tax break, slackening demand from state renewable energy mandates, falling costs for renewable technology and competition from natural gas, according to research released today.

Wind energy tax credit renewal aids Kansas

Source: By Associated Press • Posted: Monday, January 14th, 2013

Wind energy in Kansas could be in store for another round of development due to the one-year renewal of a federal tax credit. The Associated Press reports Kansas saw the most wind farm construction of any state last year. But by early fall, projects stalled and workers were laid off because the industry was expecting the tax credit to expire on Jan. 1.

Technology helps wind industry overcome ‘start-stop’ hurdles

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, January 14th, 2013

According to Bill Noto, a software engineer for GE Renewable Energy, the wind energy highway is rife with speed traps. When there’s sufficient demand and room for electricity to flow, utilities and grid overseers want wind farms to run full throttle. But during periods of congestion, or when market conditions call for less power on the grid, wind energy operators have to apply the brakes to keep their power from overwhelming the system

Google pours $200M into Texas wind project

Source: E&E • Posted: Friday, January 11th, 2013

Google Inc. has invested $200 million in a wind farm in west Texas, marking its 11th major investment in renewable energy projects.

Calif. billionaire might be the next big name in U.S. energy politics

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Billionaire Tom Steyer isn’t well-known outside California, but plenty of people believe that’s about to change. He’s seen here as a likely star in energy politics.
Steyer, 55, is a self-made mogul who made a bundle as a hedge fund manager. He’s also a philanthropist, environmentalist and father of four who says the country needs a clean energy revolution. He’s spent part of his wealth working toward that aim.