An effort to jolt Massachusetts’ reliance on solar and wind projects has surged in recent years, powered in part by an increase in lobbying by supporters of renewable energy. In 2015, nearly two dozen renewable energy companies and advocacy groups poured more than $1.5 million into lobbying in an effort to get their voices heard by Beacon Hill lawmakers, according to an Associated Press review of state lobbying records. Just five years ago, in 2010, only five of the 23 companies had spent anything on lobbying.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz travels to Des Moines on Friday for the first stop in a two-day Iowa visit pegged to the Quadrennial Energy Review. Moniz will speak before panels on bulk power generation, transmission development and electricity distribution in the Iowa capital before heading west to dedicate the Ames Laboratory’s Sensitive Instrument Facility and deliver the commencement address at Iowa State University’s graduation ceremony. Moniz joins Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie (D) and U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development administrator Sam Rikkers for the session at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, one of six regional meetings on the review. It is part of the agency’s broader push for technology development.
The Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday revived a proposal to allow energy companies to obtain 30-year permits to disturb or kill protected bald and golden eagles, a move aimed at encouraging more firms to commit to eagle conservation measures. The agency released a draft rule along with a draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) analyzing the rule’s effect on eagles and a requirement that companies perform mitigation to offset harm to golden eagles.
The Obama administration is revising a federal rule that allows wind-energy companies to operate high-speed turbines for up to 30 years, even if means killing or injuring thousands of federally protected bald and golden eagles. Under the plan announced Wednesday, wind companies and other power providers could kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles a year without penalty — nearly four times the current limit. Golden eagles could only be killed if companies take steps to minimize the losses, for instance, by retrofitting power poles to reduce the risk of electrocution.
A once-sleepy department of nerds and nukes in the austere Forrestal Building has transformed over the last seven years into the Obama administration’s economic and technology arsenal for the fight against climate change. David Danielson helped make it happen.
General Electric wants to become a major player in the offshore wind industry and is interested in buying the Areva-Gamesa offshore joint venture Adwen, GE’s new head of renewables said on Tuesday. Following its takeover of the energy assets of French Alstom, GE in November 2015 created a global renewable energy business unit with sales of 9 billion euros ($10.42 billion), staff of 13,000, and its headquarters in France.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill supporting a proposed windmill farm off the coast of Atlantic City. Christie on Monday rejected the bill that would permit, but not require, the state Board of Public Utilities to approve the wind farm off the coast, to be built by Fishermen’s Energy.
The Department of Energy announced $25 million yesterday to accelerate the integration of solar power into the grid as industry supporters launched a campaign to celebrate the millionth U.S. solar installation. The DOE money will be used to support 10 or 15 technology “solutions,” such as sensors and software, that can be field-tested by utilities to integrate, store and deploy solar power on the grid. The goal of the SunShot Initiative program is to tackle an ongoing challenge of integrating distributed generation sources like rooftop panels while balancing that power with traditional sources like coal or natural gas, according to the agency.
“The SoCalGas leak in Aliso Canyon was a rude awakening for families living in Porter Ranch, but it also has to be a wake-up call for the state,” Pavley said in an email. “It shows that we need to address tough questions about how we diversify our energy resources, reduce our dependence on dangerous fossil fuel facilities like this one, and move toward the clean energy future our state has envisioned in its policy.”
Lawmakers in Massachusetts are drafting a bill that would jump-start the offshore wind industry in the U.S., helping trigger a $10 billion building spree off the Atlantic coast. The energy bill may be introduced as early as this month and is expected to require utilities to purchase power from offshore wind farms, according to Representative Thomas Golden, one of the Democrats who control the state legislature. Still to be determined is how much power utilities would be forced to buy under the bill and, crucially, whether the state’s Republican governor — who has already opposed one offshore project — will sign it.