U.S. no longer top wind turbine producer, replaced by China

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, February 25th, 2016

General Electric Co. has ceded its position as the world’s No. 1 wind turbine manufacturer to a Chinese competitor, according to 2015 market data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. Ltd. received orders for 7.8 gigawatts of new wind turbines in 2015, exceeding GE, which dropped to No. 3 globally with 5.9 GW of new commissioned capacity, according to BNEF. Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark attracted 7.3 GW of new orders in 2015, solidifying its No. 2 ranking in the global supply chain.

Senators Reach Tentative Deal on Flint Water Crisis Aid

Source: By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Thursday, February 25th, 2016

The impasse over Flint has blocked a bipartisan energy bill that had been moving forward in the Senate. Under the tentative agreement, the Senate would vote on the energy bill before taking up the Flint legislation as a separate bill. The energy bill, the first comprehensive legislation of its kind in nearly a decade, promotes a wide range of energy sources, from renewables such as solar and wind power to natural gas and hydropower. The legislation also would speed federal approval of projects to export liquefied natural gas to Europe and Asia and boost energy efficiency.

Oregon Senate amends anti-coal power bill

Source: By Ian Kullgren, Portland Oregonian • Posted: Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Oregon lawmakers yesterday amended one of the state’s most far-reaching pieces of environmental legislation in decades in an attempt to give state regulators more oversight and to rid coal from Oregon’s energy supply. H.B. 4036, approved by the Senate’s business and labor committee, would give the Oregon Public Utility Commission, which regulates the state’s two major public utilities, authority to manage costs incurred from shifting toward renewable energy.

Colo. steps back from crafting formal plan for EPA rule

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Colorado officials said yesterday they believe it is “prudent” for the state to keep working toward power plant carbon emissions reductions despite a recent Supreme Court ruling to freeze a key federal climate change regulation. But the state’s original path toward meeting U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan goals will be recharted, officials declared at Colorado’s first public meeting about the regulation since the court stay. “We don’t think it is appropriate at this point to continue drafting a full state plan,” said Chris Colclasure of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Pollution Control Division. “There’s just too much uncertainty for that

White House touts wind, solar tax credits to curb emissions

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

The White House yesterday spiked the ball in the end zone, cheering a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory finding that the resurrection of key renewable energy incentives could curb more than a billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The study paints a rosy picture for the wind and solar industry in the United States, despite policy setbacks like the Supreme Court’s ruling this month to freeze the Obama administration’s signature climate change regulation, along with state slowdowns on renewable portfolio standards and incentives like net metering. “We’ve made unprecedented progress in deploying renewable energy,” Dan Utech, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, told reporters yesterday. “Meeting the Paris commitments will require scaling up low-carbon solutions, including wind and solar, at an unprecedented pace.”

Despite the Supreme Court, here’s why the White House says we’ll cut carbon anyway

Source: By Steven Mufson and Chris Mooney, Washington Post • Posted: Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

The Supreme Court stay on the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan came as a shock to the White House. After all, the president had unveiled the plan in August 2015, calling it “the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.” But on Monday administration officials took advantage of a new report to argue that the recent five-year extensions of wind and solar tax credits will cushion the blow and serve as a “bridge” to the Clean Power Plan.

205 lawmakers tell court EPA trying to ‘usurp’ Congress

Source: Robin Bravender and Amanda Reilly, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

More than 200 lawmakers are jumping into the legal brawl over the Clean Power Plan, warning that U.S. EPA is trying to “usurp” them. Led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), 34 senators and 171 representatives today filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the throngs of states and industry groups looking to topple the Obama administration’s rule to slash power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions. The lawmakers are all Republicans with the exception of West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

Bill Gates, the ‘Impatient Optimist,’ Lays Out his Clean-Energy Innovation Agenda

Source: By ANDREW C. REVKIN, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Bill Gates added clean energy and climate change to his agenda in 2010 with a TED talk on the need for “energy miracles,” during which he uncapped a jarful of blinking fireflies in place of the mosquitoes he liberated in a malaria talk the year before. He’s been ramping up his own commitments since then, and pledged last year to double his investments (to $2 billion) on a host of energy frontiers in the next five years – from new battery and solar technologies to a safer nuclear plant design to tethered, high-flying wind turbines that might harness the power of the jet stream.

Court fight may throw wrench into legislative plans

Source: Geof Koss, Hannah Hess and George Cahlink, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) yesterday said it was unclear what effect the Supreme Court fight would have on the committee’s stalled bipartisan energy package (S. 2012) but said discussions are continuing on bringing the measure back to the floor. “My hope is that we’ll be able to come up with a path forward on energy quickly and move it on through,” she said yesterday in an interview.

Group tells court EPA took ‘marching orders’ from lobbyists

Source: Ellen M. Gilmer, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

As a throng of challengers file legal briefs criticizing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan as overreaching and unconstitutional, one group is stepping forward with a simpler, but serious, allegation: U.S. EPA let lobbyists write the rule. The Energy & Environment Legal Institute told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday that EPA’s controversial climate rule should be sent back to the drawing board because the agency crafted provisions of the plan through “backdoor dealings” with environmental lobbyists.