Liberal activist groups today released model legislation they said was drawn up by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council to weaken state renewable energy policies. ALEC last year and earlier this year pushed several efforts to repeal state-level renewable portfolio standards in places like North Carolina and Kansas, but none was successful (Greenwire, June 3). Most state legislatures have adjourned for the year, and the group is rejiggering its efforts for a renewed push to limit renewable purchasing mandates when states reconvene next year, according to the documents.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today challenged her employees to take an active role in the “moral imperative” to address climate change. “I hope there are no climate change deniers in the Department of Interior,” she said.
The city of Boulder is set to adopt a goal of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. Meeting that new goal, which is expected to be adopted by the City Council next year, will require an “unprecedented level of action,” a city staff memo said.
The U.S. wind energy industry’s growth engine badly sputtered and then stalled in the first half of 2013, with only 1.6 megawatts of new wind power coming online between January and June, according to data released yesterday by the American Wind Energy Association. During the second quarter of the year, no new wind turbines were built anywhere in the country, AWEA said, a circumstance few would have predicted one year ago, when the industry was riding a wave of growth that resulted in 13,000 MW of new generation being added to the grid in 2012.
A Senate Finance subcommittee yesterday began its work to overhaul an array of tax incentives benefiting energy companies with a broad overview of what benefits exist today and continued partisan disagreement over how to account for the tax breaks enjoyed by various industries. Negotiations over comprehensive tax reform have been simmering on Capitol Hill for more than a year, but the effect that overhauling the tax code would have on energy companies has remained largely in the background. Tax reform could have massive implications across numerous sectors, from oil drillers to pipeline operators to wind farm developers to building retrofitters.
A New England company has successfully bid $3.8 million for the rights to develop offshore wind farms in nearly 165,000 acres of specially designated federal waters off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind LLC of Providence said it plans to build up to 200 turbines capable of producing enough energy to power roughly 350,000 homes, with a transmission system linking Long Island, N.Y., to southeastern New England. Construction could begin as early as 2017.
Kansas is undoubtedly a windy state, but it is not yet the “Saudi Arabia of Wind” that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback wants it to be. Kansas has more wind energy potential than any state except Texas, but eight states generate more total megawatts of wind power — even as Brownback and his legislature have taken steps to boost Kansas’s wind industry. A key problem: a lack of high-voltage electric lines to connect the remote areas where turbines churn out power to the bustling regions that demand it.
Xcel Energy Inc., the investor-owned utility that has been championed for its commitment to wind power by clean energy advocates far and wide, is at risk of being dropped as the electricity provider to this city, which is its national headquarters. Among other reasons, it is accused of not being sufficiently pro-clean energy.
The Interior Department is reviewing a plan by Virginia to build two 6-megawatt wind turbines in federal waters off its shores, a project that aims to lower the risk of developing offshore wind farms. The proposal by Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy would test “twisted jacket” turbine foundations that offer the strength of traditional foundations but use substantially less steel.
A decision by the Lincoln Electric System to purchase wind energy from Oklahoma is being criticized by the Nebraska Farmers Union. Earlier this month, Lincoln Electric System agreed to purchase 100 megawatts of wind energy. LES officials touted cost savings for its customers. But Farmers Union President John Hansen said the public utility also has a responsibility to boost economic development in Nebraska.