California man gets 2 years in prison in wind scam

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, June 17th, 2013

A federal judge has sentenced a California man to two years in prison for his role in defrauding investors by promoting non-existent wind farm projects in Wyoming and South Dakota.

Coal Industry Pins Hopes on Exports as U.S. Market Shrinks

Source: By CLIFFORD KRAUSS, New York Times • Posted: Monday, June 17th, 2013

Every few hours trains packed with coal pass through the sagebrush-covered landscape here in southern Montana, some on their way north to Canadian ports for shipment to Japan and South Korea. If the mining company Cloud Peak Energy has its way, many more trains will cross the prairie to far larger proposed export terminals in Washington State. It’s part of a push by the nation’s coal industry, hobbled by plummeting demand as Americans turn to cleaner natural gas, to vastly expand what it sends to Asia and Europe. But the aggressive effort to rescue the $40 billion industry is running into fierce opposition from environmental groups, who say pollution caused by burning coal should not be exported.

Court backs FERC in decades-long dispute

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 17th, 2013

A federal appeals court today upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s handling of a legal dispute involving transmission agreements inked in the 1970s in New York and New Jersey. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that FERC was correct to approve a settlement in 2010 between grid operators in the Midwest and utilities on the East Coast that ended years of litigation over changes to transmission agreements as they entered into an open access regime the agency created.

Moniz promises Hanford visit, department reorganization, LNG decisions

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 14th, 2013

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz plans to visit the embattled nuclear waste site in Hanford, Wash., next week, he told a congressional subcommittee today during a wide-ranging hearing. Moniz called the site, where leaks have been discovered in six tanks storing radioactive sludge, one of the “most challenging” in the Department of Energy’s portfolio of Cold War-era facilities that need to be cleaned up, a job he called a “legal and moral imperative.”

Moniz welcomes ‘dialogue’ with House subpanel on science of global warming

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 14th, 2013

“First of all, the rise in CO2 emissions in the last half-century is clearly tracked to our global increased energy use,” Moniz told Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power. … Secondly, I know how to count,” Moniz added. “I can count how many CO2 molecules have gone out from fossil fuel combustion, and I know how many additional CO2 molecules are in the atmosphere.”

Exelon blames ‘subsidized’ wind, markets for derailing projects

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Exelon Corp. is scrapping expansion plans at nuclear plants in Illinois and Pennsylvania because of waning demand for electricity and competition with subsidized wind generators. The country’s largest owner of nuclear reactors today announced it would sideline plans to add capacity to its LaSalle nuclear plant 75 miles southwest of Chicago and its Limerick plant 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Natural gas, renewable energy will power the future Texas grid — study

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 13th, 2013

The path to low-carbon electricity generation in Texas will likely require the co-development and integration of both natural gas and renewable energy resources like wind and solar power, a new research report commissioned by the Texas Clean Energy Coalition has found. The white paper, prepared by the Brattle Group for the Austin-based nonprofit, states that despite perceived competition between natural gas and renewable energy resources in Texas, the reality is the two sectors can aid each other’s growth and can eventually help Texas meet rising energy demand in an era of tighter environmental controls.

White House adviser says Obama will move soon on climate, domestically and internationally

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 13th, 2013

A White House adviser said yesterday that President Obama will soon renew his domestic efforts on climate change, as promised in his second State of the Union address, and follow the strides he made with China last weekend with further international engagement on the issue. Shortly after former Vice President Al Gore predicted an “inevitable” rise in renewable energy as the keynote speaker at Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-R.I.) annual Environmental Leaders Day in Washington, D.C., Heather Zichal, Obama’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change, announced that “in the coming weeks and months, you can expect to hear more from the president on this issue.”

Zichal hedges on carbon rules while greens apply pressure

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

President Obama’s top climate adviser said yesterday that the White House would follow this weekend’s announcement with China on hydrofluorocarbons with other major steps to curb greenhouse gases at home and internationally. Heather Zichal told a room full of green energy entrepreneurs and regulators from deeply blue Rhode Island that Obama continues to rank climate change high on his agenda for the second term and will use the tools at his disposal to make progress on the issue.

Court ruling called a game changer for renewable power

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

A federal appeals court found last week that it’s unconstitutional for Michigan to discriminate against out-of-state renewable electricity — a decision being described as giving a major edge to clean power in the legal fight over the future of the U.S. grid. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of a plan in the Midwest to apportion costs for new power lines slated to boost reliability and ship millions of megawatts of wind power from remote areas to population hubs around the Great Lakes