Wyoming wind tax collections fall by 15 percent

Source: By Benjamin Storrow, The Billings Gazette • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Wyoming wind revenues fell by 15 percent in 2015, an unwelcome drop at a time when the the state is already suffering the effects of a pronounced downturn in the oil, natural gas and coal sectors. The Cowboy State became the first in the nation to tax wind production when it passed a $1-per-megawatt-hour tax in 2010. Tax collections have bounced around ever since, rising from $2.6 million in 2012 — the first year the levy was imposed — to $4.4 million in 2014. Last year, the state collected $3.7 million.

Nev. plant solves quandary of how to store sunshine

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

The Crescent Dunes solar plant stands like a beacon in the midst of vast desert. By day, the plant’s 10,000 billboard-sized mirrors focus sunlight onto the top of a Washington Monument-sized tower, heating molten salt to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The salt is kept in a massive insulated tank until it’s needed to generate electricity. When released, the salt heats water to steam, which drives a turbine that generates power. But unlike most solar plants, Crescent Dunes can deliver electricity long after the sun has dipped below the horizon. Fittingly, the plant sent its first electrons to the grid last October during the night.

Climate Policy’s Advocates Take Page From Same-Sex Marriage Playbook

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Two months ahead of a federal court hearing on President Obama’s signature climate change rule, a coordinated public relations offensive has begun — modeled after the same-sex marriage campaign — to influence the outcome of the case. A national coalition of liberal and environmental advocacy groups, state attorneys general, mayors and even some businesses are adhering to the strategy that a network of gay rights and other advocacy groups began in the months before the Supreme Court heard arguments in the same-sex marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges, last year. Those advocates cannot be certain, but they said they believed it had influenced the opinions of the justices, who ruled in June that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

Abengoa files for bankruptcy in U.S.

Source: By Patrick Fitzgerald, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Abengoa SA, the renewable energy company that operates around the world, this week filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States. The Spanish energy company is now in talks with its bondholders and banks in an effort to agree on a restructuring plan for its more than $16.48 billion in debt. The company filed for Chapter 15 protection, the section of the U.S. bankruptcy code that handles cross-border insolvencies.

Trump opposes carbon tax, backs RFS in questionnaire

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump would oppose a carbon tax if elected to the White House, according to documents released yesterday by the American Energy Alliance, which offer the most detailed look at Trump’s energy policies to date. In addition to the carbon tax, the group asked candidates to comment on issues like whether they support continued tax subsidies for the energy industry, whether the renewable fuel standard should be discontinued and whether they would support expanded energy production on public lands.The AEA, the advocacy arm of the Institute for Energy Research, today published candidate questionnaires that it received from both Trump and his primary rival for the GOP presidential nod, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Okla., Kan. wind helped drive record CO2 reductions — study

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Consumption of U.S. wind energy helped offset 6 percent of all the carbon dioxide emitted by the U.S. power sector last year, according to data released this morning by the American Wind Energy Association. AWEA officials, using a modeling tool developed by U.S. EPA, found that increased production of wind power, especially in the Southern Plains and Midwest, led to a record 132 million metric tons of CO2 reductions directly attributable to wind power.

Harvesting Sunshine More Lucrative Than Crops at Some U.S. Farms

Source: Bu Je Ryan, Bloomberg News • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

For more than a century, Dawson Singletary’s family has grown tobacco, peanuts and cotton on a 530-acre farm amid the coastal flatlands of North Carolina. Now he’s making money from a different crop: solar panels. Singletary has leased 34 acres of his Bladen County farm to Strata Solar LLC for a 7-megawatt array, part of a growing wave of solar deals that are transforming U.S. farmland and boosting income for farmers.

Exxon swings back at ‘politically motivated’ probe

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

fter a roster of leaders from different states peppered Exxon Mobil Corp. today with allegations of climate change fraud, the company shot back, saying politics were fueling those claims.
“The allegations leveled against Exxon Mobil again today are politically motivated and based on discredited reporting funded by activist organizations,” said Suzanne McCarron, Exxon Mobil’s vice president of public and government affairs. “We are actively assessing all legal options.”

Gore, state AGs beef up ‘fraud’ probe

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Former Vice President Al Gore and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today accused fossil fuel companies of committing fraud by lying about climate change science while they announced a multistate effort to hold companies accountable. Schneiderman (D) convened a coalition of state attorneys general here today, where they announced a multistate effort to tackle climate change, including further investigations into whether fossil fuel companies lied to investors and the public about the impacts of climate change.

Pennsylvania Governor vetoes bill against Clean Power Plan, citing GOP ‘intrusion’

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed a bill that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to hold sway over the state’s Clean Power Plan compliance strategy. H.B. 1327, which was passed by lawmakers with the state budget earlier this month, included language granting either chamber of the General Assembly the ability to disapprove of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s efforts to meet federally required emissions cuts in the power sector.