The sun yesterday unleashed its largest solar flare so far this year. The coronal mass ejection was determined to be an “X-class” flare, or the largest of its type. The solar activity is among an increased number of flares occurring at the peak of the sun’s 11-year activity cycle.
The bill that is either a push to boost renewable energy on Colorado’s plains and mountains or part of “a war on rural Colorado” now sits on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk. The key issue is whether the bill’s mandate for rural electricity cooperatives to provide 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources places a financial burden on ranchers, farmers and small towns.
It happens about once a month here, on the barren foothills of one of America’s green-energy boomtowns: A soaring golden eagle slams into a wind farm’s spinning turbine and falls, mangled and lifeless, to the ground. Killing these iconic birds is not just an irreplaceable loss for a vulnerable species. It’s also a federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits, and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines.
How could expanding transmission infrastructure and wind capacity in the PJM Interconnection region affect consumer prices for electricity? During today’s OnPoint, John Jimison, managing director of the Energy Future Coalition, discusses a new report released by Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, focused on the impact of improved transmission infrastructure and wind capacity in the PJM Interconnection on energy prices. He also discusses his expectations for congressional and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission action on transmission.
Gov. Paul LePage wants to strip from state law goals for increasing the state’s wind energy capacity over the next two decades. LePage’s energy director, Patrick Woodcock, made recommendations Thursday to rewrite the state’s 2008 Wind Energy Act, shifting focus from growing wind energy capacity to lowering electricity costs and making sure Maine sees an economic return on its wind energy investments.
A group of Nebraska electric utilities is asking the state’s largest power supplier to eliminate proposed investments in wind energy, emissions-reduction measures and energy efficiency programs to lower costs passed on to customers. The Nebraska Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative Inc., which represents 21 public power districts including Cornhusker, Polk County Rural and Butler and one cooperative, made its case for the cuts Thursday after hiring a consultant to complete an independent review of Nebraska Public Power District’s 20-year integrated resource plan.
Nebraska’s wind power production continues to lag behind Iowa and other nearby states that offer better incentives. Wind power development in Nebraska has been hurt because the state’s public utilities can’t qualify for the same incentives as private companies.
One major piece of legislation on the majority Democratic agenda this session – Senate Bill 252 aimed at increasing the state’s renewable energy standard — is still swinging in the wind. Democrats on Thursday told the Denver Post they don’t expect Gov. John Hickenlooper to veto any of the bills currently awaiting his signature, including SB 252. But many Republicans – and a majority of the state’s rural electric associations (REAs) want him to kill the bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass, and Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs.
In a bold move characteristic of its billionaire owner, Warren Buffett, MidAmerican Energy Co. this week said it would add 1,050 megawatts of wind power to its already extensive wind holdings in Iowa by the end of 2015. The $1.9 billion investment, billed as the largest economic development project ever in Iowa, follows a trajectory set by Des Moines-based MidAmerican several years ago when it pledged to become one of the world’s most aggressive utility deployers of renewable energy.
Ranking House Energy and Commerce Democrat Henry Waxman today said a series of House GOP hearings on grid reliability reflect the deep “confusion” inside the Republican Party over climate change and represent a smoke screen for attacking renewables. Republicans on the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, the Californian said, can’t seem to decide whether they like cheap gas or see it as a threat to the coal industry. They also seem unsure whether they should celebrate the country’s reduced carbon emissions or avoid the issue altogether, Waxman said.