Wyden wants ‘performance based’ energy subsidies — defining ‘performance’ is the tricky part

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 18th, 2014

A Finance Committee hearing yesterday on energy tax policy issues served largely as a table-setter for a potential return next year to comprehensive tax reform negotiations, which would affect all sectors of the economy. But Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) briefly touched on their more immediate concern — the “tax extenders” package that has been awaiting action for months. Both said they would like a post-election lame-duck session to be used to pass the bill, which includes about a dozen energy-related tax breaks such as the production tax credit (PTC) among its 50 or so provisions.

Gov. Jindal pushes oil and coal use, rejects climate change rules

Source: By DAVID LAUTER, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

But Jindal’s plan goes further than most in laying out details that sharply contrast with the positions taken by the Obama administration and most Democrats. His plan calls for opening more off-shore waters to drilling, for example, although he left unsaid whether he would push for opening waters off Florida and California that state opposition has kept off-limits. He also would phase out tax advantages for wind power, ethanol and other renewable fuels.

A German city learns the perks and pitfalls of being a green pioneer in Europe

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Freiburg, a city of 230,000 people near the French and Swiss borders, was green before it was cool, and when it comes to sustainability, residents refuse to settle for second best. The city has some of the highest energy efficiency, renewable energy and emissions targets in a country already taking the most ambitious steps in the world to reform its energy systems on a national level.

Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says

Source: By JUSTIN GILLIS, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

In decades of public debate about global warming, one assumption has been accepted by virtually all factions: that tackling it would necessarily be costly. But a new report casts doubt on that idea, declaring that the necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free. A global commission will announce its finding on Tuesday that an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure.

Study of Eastern U.S. Shows Wind Energy Could Stabilize the Grid

Source: By Robert Fare, Scientific American • Posted: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

ast month, General Electric (GE) consulting presented the results of a U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) sponsored study testing if wind turbines can be controlled to manage the stability of the electric grid. The authors found that wind turbines might actually be a valuable tool for controlling and stabilizing the grid in the future, disputing the conventional notion that wind energy doesn’t play well with the grid. To understand the source of this counterintuitive result—and its implications—let’s review the key aspect of power grid control at play here: frequency regulation.

EPA extends comment period for power plant rule

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Acting air chief Janet McCabe said the agency will accept comments through Dec. 1, adding to one of the longest comment periods ever for a rulemaking. EPA unveiled the rule proposal June 2. “We hope that additional time will give those entities wishing to submit comments the time they need to engage with us, ask questions, and ultimately provide input that will help ensure that in the end this plan is practical, flexible and achievable,” she said.

Chafee foresees large role for R.I. in offshore wind

Source: Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Rhode Island will have a major role to play in the offshore wind industry, even though a developer chose to use a Massachusetts port to build a large wind farm, Governor Lincoln Chafee said Monday. Rhode Island officials had hoped that Cape Wind would use New Bedford and Rhode Island’s Quonset Point for the staging and construction of a proposed 130-turbine wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, bringing jobs and economic activity to both states. Cape Wind announced Friday that it had signed a lease agreement with Massachusetts.

Number of bird deaths by turbines minor compared with other threats — study

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

A new study that evaluated bird mortalities at wind farms across North America found that collisions with wind-turbine blades annually kill less than 1 percent of the smallest and most common birds on the continent, a conclusion that the study’s sponsors say points to the need to focus bird conservation on climate change, loss of habitat and other more significant threats.

Committee to probe energy tax issues for first time since Wyden took over

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

While comprehensive tax reform has been on Congress’ back burner for most of the year, a Senate hearing this week could shed some additional light on what an eventual overhaul of the tax code would mean for oil companies, renewable energy developers and others in the energy industry.

Green power programs on the rise in both red and blue states — report

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Green energy programs have expanded in blue states as well as deeply conservative ones like Texas and Mississippi in recent years, according to a study released yesterday by Stanford University and the Hoover Institution. “Many states, from all parts of the country and from all political perspectives, are taking steps to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy,” the report said. “Put simply, both red states and blue states are turning green, whether measured in dollar-savings or environmental benefit,” it added.