Despite Reid’s stated preference, senators float plan to make LaFleur chairwoman

Source: Nick Juliano and Hannah Northey, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

In an interview published in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Reid said, “I don’t want her as chair.” Meanwhile, Bay has faced bipartisan criticism over his lack of energy chops, keeping his nomination in limbo. A vote in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee had been expected this week but was delayed amid the ongoing negotiations, senators said yesterday. Committee aides did not respond to requests for comment.

Buffett bullish on utilities, warns against exports of ‘finite’ gas

Source: Rod Kuckro, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

As for renewables and especially distributed generation, for Buffett the debate is over. He cited President Obama’s paraphrasing of President Lincoln when he says, “‘With public opinion, I can do anything; without it, I can do nothing.’ You’ve got to be there when it’s getting formed; you’re not going to change it later on,” Buffett asserted. “So it’s enormously important for the industry to address public opinion,” which is strongly in favor of distributed generation, he said. Renewables are challenging the utility industry’s business model, Buffett said, noting his early decision to invest $15 billion in renewable assets. “And there’s another $15 billion ready to go, as far I’m concerned. It’s where the country is going; we’ve got to move in an intelligent way,” he said.

Warren Buffett plans to double wind, solar investment

Source: Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Warren Buffett plans to double Berkshire Hathaway’s investment in wind and solar power in the U.S. to $30 billion, Bloomberg reports from Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention in Las Vegas. Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway has another $15 billion “ready to go” for renewable energy. That could have big implications in Iowa, where Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary, MidAmerican Energy, will have pumped about $5.8 billion into wind energy after completing a nearly $2 billion expansion next year.

Buffett Ready to Double $15 Billion Solar, Wind Bet

Source: By Noah Buhayar and Jim Polson, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Describing the company’s increasing investment in renewable energy at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention in Las Vegasyesterday, Buffett had to rely on a deputy, Greg Abel, to remind him just how much they’d committed: $15 billion. Without missing a beat, Buffett responded: “There’s another $15 billion ready to go, as far as I’m concerned.”

Buffett to Expand Energy Wager ‘As Far as the Eye Can See’

Source: By Noah Buhayar and Jim Polson • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Berkshire Hathaway Inc., (BRK/A)which has struck deals to expand its utility business in Nevada and Western Canada, plans more investment in the industry, in part by betting on renewable power, ChairmanWarren Buffett said. “We’ve poured billions and billions and billions of dollars in retained earnings, and several billion of additional equity,” into the energy business, Buffett, 83, said today at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention in Las Vegas. “And we’re going to keep doing that as far as the eye can see.”

Multistate project near missile range could be months away from approval

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said today that the Defense Department has sent her as promised a formal mitigation plan that proposes to bury sections of a New Mexico-to-Arizona transmission line near an Army missile testing range and that the project’s proponents have indicated the proposal is acceptable. But Neil Kornze, director of the Bureau of Land Management, said the agency needs to conduct additional evaluation on the proposal to bury up to 5 miles of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project line near New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range. Kornze conceded a new environmental asse

Is this odd-looking wind turbine the most efficient you can buy?

Source: By TUAN C. NGUYEN, Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

When it comes to producing wind energy, three-blade propeller turbine systems have been the gold standard for so long, they’ve become boring. Sure, engineers have put forth their fair share of alternate designs, but nothing has proven to be quite as efficient. They aren’t perfect either, however. Despite unmatched rotational speeds upwards of up to 200 mph, taking full advantage of the elements requires that the turbines be positioned directly into the face of the current. So while such systems generally make sense for offshore wind farms, they’re not as practical in surroundings where winds are far less predictable.

Harry Reid Shapes Energy Regulator With an Eye to Nevada Industry

Source: By AMY HARDER, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

“Oh really? No kidding,” Mr. Reid said. “Wow, that is amazing—that a majority leader who has a responsibility of selecting people would have some opinion as to who he suggests to the White House.” Mr. Reid’s interest stems from his expressed intent to develop his state’s renewable-energy industry. In 2013, Nevada ranked second in the nation for geothermal energy production and third for solar production, and 18% of its total electricity generation came from renewable, above the national average of 13%. Nevada and the West in general, however, need more power lines to deliver renewable energy to customers. While FERC, which can have as many as five members, doesn’t generally approve construction of interstate power lines, it does approve wholesale electric transmission sales and tariffs, which influence where power companies decide to build transmission lines

Some states push back against proposed EPA carbon rule

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Legal challenges to U.S. EPA’s proposed rule on power plant carbon won’t be possible until a final version is released next year, but that hasn’t stopped a number of states from laying foundations for resistance. Nineteen states — nearly all of which either produce or consumer significant quantities of coal — have introduced resolutions targeting the proposed rule. Eleven states have introduced legislation related to the rule with six bills enacted so far. While the language of the resolutions and bills runs the gamut from tentative support to outright opposition to EPA’s authority, a common refrain among them is the desire for state primacy in developing and implementing plans, said Melanie Condon, a policy associate for the National Conference of State Legislatures, which is tracking state reactions to the proposed EPA rule.

Political clout tempers utilities’ fears of power plant rule to be implemented by states

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

The relatively sanguine reaction from most utilities to U.S. EPA’s landmark climate change rule reflects the extent to which power companies are confident in their ability to influence the state governments that will be crafting plans to hit required carbon dioxide emissions reductions. EPA’s proposal was greeted with predictable outrage from coal miners, heavy industry and ideologically motivated interest groups that warned of higher energy prices, lost jobs and a less reliable energy supply. But utilities were generally more likely to welcome — or at least begrudgingly accept — the regulation on existing power plants as something they were already on the way to achieving by switching from coal to natural gas-fired power, promoting energy efficiency and relying more on renewables.