With lawmakers in both chambers prepping major energy bills for floor debate later this year, interest groups are scrambling to untangle policy disputes that threaten to ensnare key legislative priorities. Leaders of the primary House and Senate committees of jurisdiction have been careful to separate the more controversial policies — such as U.S. EPA’s push to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants — from the legislative push by focusing instead on less-contentious issues, such as infrastructure, efficiency and accountability, all of which are seen as capable of drawing bipartisan support.
House lawmakers will hear from top Department of Energy officials this week about the evolving energy bill that could hit the floor by this summer. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz kicks things off tomorrow with an appearance before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power to brief members on DOE’s recently completed Quadrennial Energy Review and offer his thoughts on the more than half-dozen draft bills the committee has released. On Wednesday and Thursday, the subcommittee convenes a two-day hearing on the bill’s efficiency and accountability provisions.
At the center of the debate is a new “accountability” subtitle the House Energy and Commerce Committee unveiled this week to be included in the lower chamber’s larger energy bill. The House language mirrors a proposal that Berkshire Hathaway proposed at a Senate hearing earlier this month where Cantwell made her skepticism and disapproval clear. The subtitle will receive its first airing at a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing this week.
If Johann Steinlechner had his way, you wouldn’t see the Coachella Valley’s iconic wind turbines as you drove through the San Gorgonio Pass. The turbines would still be there, generating renewable energy. They’d just be a lot closer to the ground.
The energy storage business is waiting on governments and electric grid regulators — and financiers — to come up with policies that allow it to take part in the nation’s power business alongside renewable generation. California and Hawaii have created a demand for storage companies by revamping their electric grids to run on solar and other alternative sources, Lisa Frantzis, a senior vice president at the trade group Advanced Energy Economy, said during a meeting of the Energy Storage Association here. New York and Massachusetts are working on plans to modernize their electric grids.
Pressure to remain politically neutral has made it difficult for the Energy Information Administration to adapt, making its forecasts increasingly inaccurate, experts say. For example, the EIA said renewable-generated electricity would grow by 0.1% through 2040 yet the use of wind power grew 5% from 2013 to 2014. “It’s affecting us in a very negative way,” said American Wind Energy Association Senior Director of Research Michael Goggin. “There seems to be consistent bias in EIA’s projections against renewable energy, and that’s a different thing from being inaccurate,” he said.
An outdated Air Force radar in Fossil is holding back nearly 4,000 megawatts of proposed wind energy across Eastern Oregon and Washington, according to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon. Wyden is now asking top officials at the Pentagon and Federal Aviation Administration to replace the system with technology that can overcome interference, or “clutter,” created by turbines.
In a letter sent May 21 to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Wyden said the Fossil radar is increasingly seen as an impediment to local wind energy development, which has grown into a leading source of revenue for many rural communities.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a compromise between the wind energy industry and critics of the state’s green energy mandate. The deal signed Thursday would remove a requirement that renewable resources account for 20 percent of utilities’ capacity to generate electricity by 2020.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, the leaders of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, are once again urging Congress to revive the wind production tax credit — and to please do it this time well before December
A federal appeals court yesterday rejected a bid by environmentalists to force regulators to consider the impact of a wind farm’s road over federal lands in California on endangered species. The Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife contended that the Bureau of Land Management was required to consult the Fish and Wildlife Service before granting a right of way to build a road near Tehachapi in California’s Sierra Nevada. The road connects a 12,000-acre wind farm developed entirely on private land by North Sky River Energy LLC. It links the project to a state highway. Beneath the road are power and fiber-optic cables that connect the power generated from the farm to California’s grid.