Congress is taking the wind out of turbine sales. And that’s despite support from President Barack Obama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a substantial roster of House Republicans who see extending the wind tax credit as an electoral imperative.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state grid operator and manager of the wholesale electric market, hit a new wind record Wednesday, exceeding the previous record by almost 200 megawatts (MW). Wind output reached 7,599 MW at 8:41 p.m., Wednesday, March 7, exceeding the 7,403 MW record from the previous day, March 6, by 196 MW. Prior to March 6, the record for wind output in ERCOT was 7,400 MW, recorded on Oct. 7, 2011.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear testimony this week on the growing issue of weather-related power outages and what to do about it.
What was supposed to be an examination of how tax policy affects fledgling technology was overshadowed yesterday by heated showdowns between a pugnacious House Republican and renewable energy advocates over how to measure jobs and electricity costs from their industries.
House Republicans won’t get the chance they were banking on to grill Energy Secretary Steven Chu about a controversial plan to upgrade transmission in the nation’s power marketing administrations that they suspect will trigger electricity price spikes.
Former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said Friday that his signature program to support renewable energy research and development has been a resounding success, though less than a third of the money has been spent. Culver said the Iowa Power Fund has inspired investors and energy startup companies to do business in Iowa. He said the program is helping create jobs in some communities, and he said the program’s impact will grow as more projects advance.
With the clock ticking on a bevy of coveted energy tax provisions that are set to disappear at the end of this year, a key House subcommittee later this week will launch its inquiry into how or whether to throw a lifeline to industries that rely on the favorable tax treatment. Energy tax provisions, such as the production tax credit (PTC) for wind that expires at the end of this year, as well as expired programs such as the 1603 grant fund, will be among those considered at a wide-ranging hearing Thursday morning before the House Ways and Means Committee’s subpanel on select revenue measures.
“Chill out – sometimes this stuff takes years.” That was Bill Clinton’s wry observation on Thursday as he addressed a sustainability conference in New York City, expressing frustration over how long it is taking for the country to move forward on clean energy and energy efficiency.
The issue of climate change might be off the table for the upcoming election, but it is probably not dead for long, three political experts predicted yesterday. Discussion about how to limit warming — and even talk about a carbon tax — has a fair chance of resurfacing next year regardless of who wins the presidency, Democratic and Republican insiders predicted as they spoke at Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm Green conference.
Chet Culver’s signature program for renewable energy research and development is off to a slower and rockier start than the former Iowa governor predicted, with a fraction of the money spent five years after its creation, according to a review by The Associated Press. Culver pitched the Iowa Power Fund as a $100 million program that would invest in ethanol, wind, and other technologies to reduce pollution, break the state’s dependence on foreign oil, and add jobs. In a speech when he left office last year, he said the fund “allowed Iowa to become the silicon prairie of the Midwest” and its breakthroughs would secure Iowa’s energy future.