At the Union of Concerned Scientists, the senior energy analyst Michael B. Jacobs, who has a blog called the Energy Roller Coaster, has been sounding the alarm about over-reliance on natural gas in New England and Texas. The solution, he said, would be to turn to more renewable energy sources like wind so that the demand for gas would be smaller at clinch times. “You don’t have nearly so much of a price spike if you have more renewables in your portfolio,” he said.
The debate over tax reform is just starting on Capitol Hill, and its implications for energy companies have not yet been a central piece of lawmakers’ discussions, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is claiming the left flank of the debate with legislation introduced yesterday. Sanders’ bill would eliminate a broad swath of tax benefits for oil and natural gas companies while extending renewable energy tax credits through 2020 — longer than even some renewable industry officials think those credits will be necessary.
The Obama administration is proposing to significantly reduce the size and energy output of a large-scale wind farm project proposal in Southern California to avoid impacts to golden eagles and endangered condors. At issue is the Bureau of Land Management’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Alta East Wind Project, which includes a “preferred alternative” that the project be significantly scaled back from the original proposal to string together as many as 106 wind turbines across more than 2,500 acres of mostly public land in Kern County, according to an advance notice published in today’s Federal Register.
The global expansion of relatively inexpensive shale oil may threaten investment in renewable energy and global emissions goals and could pose other environmental risks, environmentalists warned in the wake of a report that found shale oil could make up 12 percent of oil production by 2035.
Proponents of renewable energy are bracing themselves for a Texas Legislature that no longer supports renewables, instead favoring cheap natural gas, tight budgets and tea party policies.
The big challenge: getting all the wind energy produced out here in far West Texas to the big cities that need the power. So the state is laying thousands of miles of transmission lines to get the job done. Construction is supposed to be completed by the end of the year. It can’t happen soon enough for Doug May. May’s the economic development director for Pecos County. The $6.8 billion the state is spending on new transmission lines will double the capacity to deliver wind power to Texas cities.
Advocates for wind energy urged state lawmakers Thursday to grant a sales tax exemption on wind turbines and other equipment to make Nebraska more competitive for new wind farms. Nebraska is falling behind neighboring states, they said, because it does not offer exemptions on the purchases of turbines, towers and other wind-farm equipment. That, a legislative panel was told, adds another $1.2 million a year in financing costs on a midsize wind farm and has forced investors to go elsewhere.
Developers of the Cape Wind project off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts told federal officials they are interested in a wind development area 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va. An Energy Management Inc. spokesman confirmed the company told the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement it may enter bidding to develop the 133-square-mile area. Sea Breeze Power Corp., Dominion Virginia Power and seven other energy companies have also expressed interest.
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) will unveil a plan today to tax carbon emissions at $20 a ton, raising potentially $1.2 trillion over 10 years for rebates and investments in clean energy and efficiency.
The Sanders-Boxer bill would cut U.S. carbon emissions 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2025, according to Sanders’ office. Upstream facilities like coal mines and oil refineries would pay the fee, which would increase 5.6 percent annually over a decade.
In his State of the Union message on Tuesday night, President Obama proposed the creation of an “Energy Security Trust” to find alternatives to dependence on oil for the nation’s transportation needs. The trust would be financed from revenue from oil and gas royalties that the federal government collects from companies that drill on federal land. As is customary in State of the Union speeches, Mr. Obama did not give much detail, but plenty of other voices were happy to fill in the blanks on Wednesday morning. The idea has obvious political appeal – using oil revenues to wean the country from oil – but it has a way to go before reaching fruition.