Senate votes to kick off conference talks

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

After weeks of back and forth between the two parties, the Senate this afternoon voted overwhelmingly to launch the first formal energy reform conference in more than a decade.
Senators first voted 84-3 on a procedural motion to end debate on a motion to launch negotiations with the House. The motion then passed by voice vote. Voting followed weeks of discussions between Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

Refiners back bill to stop social cost of carbon calculation

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

A refining trade group yesterday put its weight behind legislation introduced last week that would block agencies from taking into account carbon dioxide emissions’ long-term economic damage. In a letter today, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers said it supported the bill by Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) to help ensure “transparency” and “sound science” in executive branch decisions.

Kate Brown to lawmakers: a repeal of Oregon’s low-carbon fuels law is off limits in transportation talks

Source: By Hillary Borrud, The Oregonian • Posted: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

As a committee of Oregon lawmakers tours the state this summer in an effort to build support for a possible 2017 transportation-funding package, there’s one topic Gov. Kate Brown asked them to avoid: a repeal of the state’s low-carbon fuel law. Brown made her expectation clear at a May 4 invitation-only meeting of lawmakers, lobbyists and business executives in Portland, where she said a repeal of the state’s low-carbon fuel law was off the table, according to drafts of her prepared remarks released by the governor’s office and people who attended the meeting.

California Governor Looks to Extend Climate-Change Efforts

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

California Gov. Jerry Brown has launched a campaign to extend some of the most ambitious climate-change programs in the country and ensure his environmental legacy when he leaves office in two years. The centerpiece of the push is a cap-and-trade program that aims to reduce the use of fossil fuels by forcing manufacturers and other companies to meet tougher emissions limits or pay up to exceed them. The program has been one of the most-watched efforts in the world aimed at the climate-changing fuels.

Offshore Wind Power Cost-Cut Plan Gets Boost From Big Utilities

Source: By Jessica Shankleman, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Nine of the world’s biggest offshore wind farm developers joined with the Scottish government to fund a 7.9 million-pound ($10.3 million) study aimed at curbing the costs of the expensive renewable energy technology. Companies including Dong Energy A/S, EON SE, Iberdrola SA and RWE AG, will together invest at least 6.4 million pounds over the next four years to fund the research and development of new technologies. The Scottish government will pitch in another 1.5 million pounds, according to a joint statement Monday.

Hawaii’s Popular Rooftop Solar Incentives Winding Down

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Hawaii is a national leader in rooftop solar power, but despite the state’s ambitious goal of using only renewable energy by 2045, people are being shut out of solar incentive programs because of limits set by the state. On Maui, a program that reimburses customers who supply energy to the grid reached its maximum in June. The cap likely will be reached on Oahu — the state’s most populated island — by the end of summer, experts say.

House passes bills to create two DOE solar and storage research programs

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The House passed legislation last night that would create new basic research programs at the Department of Energy for electricity storage and solar fuels. Both bills prohibit funds from being used for commercial application of energy technology, spurring disagreement on the House floor about their focus on “basic” research. They passed by voice vote under suspension of the rules of the House, which dictate that no amendments can be made to the legislation and two-thirds of voting members are required for passage.

Senate support grows for conference vote

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Bipartisan momentum is building in the Senate for going to conference with the House to reconcile competing versions of energy overhaul legislation. The House appointed conferees weeks ago. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said his chamber would likely vote to join the House in talks sometime this week. “Going to conference on this measure would put us one step closer to arriving at a final bill and sending it to the president’s desk,” said McConnell in floor remarks.

Getaway week could prove pivotal for energy, spending bills

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 11th, 2016

Congressional leaders are set to work this week to revive a flailing appropriations process and set the stage for the first major energy reform law in a decade. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will be working to convince colleagues to join the House in a conference committee to merge competing versions of an energy bill.

Natural Resources panels focus on renewable energy development

Source: Corbin Hiar, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 11th, 2016

In a pair of subcommittee hearings this week, House Natural Resources Committee members will consider legislation to promote renewable energy development on public lands and scrutinize existing projects that have been built there. The Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee is set to host the first hearing on Wednesday afternoon. With representatives from the conservation community, renewables industry and country governments, they will evaluate the “Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act,” or H.R. 2663.