FERC calls for reliability mechanism in Clean Power Plan 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday suggested U.S. EPA include a mechanism within the final version of the Clean Power Plan to maintain reliability — but turned down requests to review specific state plans. FERC Chairman Norman Bay and his fellow commissioners — two Republicans and two Democrats — in a joint letter to U.S. EPA acting air chief Janet McCabe outlined the parameters of a “reliability safety valve” to resolve conflicts between the final rule to curb carbon emissions and FERC-approved reliability standards.

Despite political rhetoric, 41 states exploring Clean Power Plan options 

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

At least 41 states are in talks with neighbors about how they might cut power-sector carbon emissions under U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, despite appeals from Republicans in Congress for state officials to refuse to comply, according to regional coordinators. Fifteen states are bringing court challenges to the rule, and based on comments from GOP governors and attorneys general, it appears that number could grow closer to two dozen once EPA finalizes the regulation this summer.

Kansas set to repeal renewable energy mandate

Source: By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Kansas lawmakers are set to repeal the state’s renewable energy mandate and replace it with a voluntary goal for electric utilities, the Lawrence Journal-World reports. Lawmakers have approved a bill to the end the state’s “renewable portfolio standard,” which requires utilities to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020, and replace it with a voluntary goal instead. The bill also limits the property tax exemption for renewable energy projects currently in law. The Legislature passed the bill on Thursday, sending it to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback for his signature.

Moniz heads to Hill as push for bipartisanship grows 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 18th, 2015

nergy Secretary Ernest Moniz will address House members this week as the chamber takes up far-reaching energy language to ensure the U.S. electric grid remains stable as new environmental rules take effect. Moniz is slated to address the House Energy and Commerce Energy and Power Subcommittee on Thursday about the department’s high-profile energy policy blueprint, the Quadrennial Energy Review, as well as a number of draft bills the lower chamber has generated in recent days.

Senate panel to continue energy bill work with focus on supply bills 

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 18th, 2015

A Senate panel this week will continue its work on a comprehensive energy bill with a hearing to consider more than two dozen proposals to boost supplies from offshore oil wells, hydroelectric dams, geothermal deposits and most other sources of energy. The proposals are competing for a spot in the energy bill that Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) hopes to have assembled by this summer, although not all of the 26 bills on the committee agenda will make the final cut.

Colo. will comply with EPA carbon rule, Hickenlooper tells McConnell 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 18th, 2015

“Although complying with the clean power plan will be a challenge, states tackle problems of this magnitude on a regular basis,” he wrote. “We think it would be irresponsible to ignore federal law, and that is why we intend to develop a compliant Clean Power Plan.” McConnell has devoted personal effort to advocating that states not submit state implementation plans (SIPs) for the rule, arguing that they have more to lose than to gain from doing so. His letter to the governors says EPA lacks the authority to sue a state that doesn’t comply and that any policies included in a SIP would invite federal and third-party litigation.

Chinese Wind Earnings Under Pressure With Fifth of Farms Idle

Source: By REUTERS • Posted: Monday, May 18th, 2015

China’s wind farm firms are feeling the heat as state grid operators deliberately delay hooking them up and cut back on purchases, wasting about a fifth of the total wind power output or enough electricity to run Beijing for 40 days. China is now the world’s top wind power producer thanks to policies designed to boost renewable energy use, with an installed capacity of over 100 gigawatts – more than a quarter of the world’s total and almost enough to light up Spain. But capacity has raced far ahead of grid construction, with state grid operators reluctant to connect wind farms in remote areas as long as their profit margins on renewables lag that of coal-generated electricity.

Vestas Has the Wind at Its Back

Source: By Tim Maverick, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Monday, May 18th, 2015

An almost-comedic series of managerial errors felled the stock.Foremost among these was launching a dramatic expansion plan in the midst of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, which caused many governments to cut back on subsidies for alternative energy. In other words, Vestas expanded right when demand was collapsing.By 2010, profit warnings were the norm for the Danish company, as stiff Chinese competition also began to bite. Vestas become an unwelcome poster child for the rise and fall of the global wind turbine industry. But now, years later and with a new CEO (brought on in 2013), Vestas has the wind at its back once again. The industry, too, is growing rapidly again.

The Future of Wind Turbines? No Blades

Source: By LIZ STINSON, Wired • Posted: Monday, May 18th, 2015

IT’S NO LONGER SURPRISING TO encounter 100-foot pinwheels spinning in the breeze as you drive down the highway. But don’t get too comfortable with that view. A Spanish company called Vortex Bladeless is proposing a radical new way to generate wind energy that will once again upend what you see outside your car window. Their idea is the Vortex, a bladeless wind turbine that looks like a giant rolled joint shooting into the sky. The Vortex has the same goals as conventional wind turbines: To turn breezes into kinetic energy that can be used as electricity. But it goes about it in an entirely different way.

Wind energy muscled out of Pennsylvania market

Source: By David Conti, Pittsburg Tribune • Posted: Monday, May 18th, 2015

After a decade of growth, Pennsylvania’s wind energy industry finds itself in the doldrums. No new wind farms have come online in more than a year, and no development is expected soon. Advocates say cheaper fossil fuels have muscled wind out of the market, and uncertainty over government support of the sector makes utilities wary of long-term contracts that investors require. “The market signals are not inducing new build,” said Jim Spencer, CEO of Strip District-based EverPower, an owner and developer of wind farms that include four sites in Pennsylvania. “It’s very difficult without relatively long-term secured revenue.”