California’s largest utilities have hit or are close to reaching a mandate that they generate 20 percent of their power from renewable sources, a major milestone as the state pushes toward the country’s most ambitious green energy goal.
After weeks of wrangling over their surface transportation reauthorization bill, the Senate this afternoon is set to start working through a list of 30 amendments that contains a meaty assortment of energy measures. The Senate is scheduled to start voting at about 2:15 this afternoon on a negotiated list of 30 amendments that will include language on the Keystone XL pipeline, U.S. EPA clean air rules, energy tax extenders and expanded offshore drilling. The set of amendments includes 18 germane amendments and 12 nongermane ones, plus a manager’s amendment that includes 37 noncontroversial ones from both sides.
The Senate dispensed with several controversial amendments yesterday, including provisions dealing with Gulf of Mexico restoration, EPA’s air pollution rules, offshore drilling and funding for rural schools. They also held two high-profile votes on amendments dealing with the Keystone XL pipeline. Up next week are a trio of amendments that would either renew or eliminate some energy tax credits, a bill creating incentives for natural gas vehicles and language that would restrict tour flights over the Grand Canyon.
The Senate rejected a measure from Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today that would have expanded offshore drilling as they moved through the first day of a slog of 30 amendment votes to their transportation reauthorization bill. The Senate cleared eight of its 12 nongermane amendments, many of which dealt with contentious energy issues that have been repeated talking points throughout this Congress. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the chamber would resume work Tuesday on those amendments, as well as 18 germane amendments. A final vote on the transportation spending package is tentatively expected next week.
Environmentalists are challenging the Forest Service’s approval of the first utility-scale wind farm on national forestland, potentially delaying a project that was supposed to signal the agency’s readiness to assume a greater role in renewable energy development.
President Obama on Wednesday proposed sweetened tax incentives and subsidies to spur the market for alternative-power cars and trucks, promoting his “all of the above” energy strategy while warning against other politicians’ “quick fixes” to the latest spike in gasoline prices.
Wind power leaders meeting here this week say they will leave “no stone unturned” as they seek to win votes in Congress for a renewal of the federal production tax credit (PTC) before the end of the year. Should they fail in Washington, however, industry executives said other drivers — including state-based renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) and lower electricity costs borne of technology improvements and other efficiencies — should sustain wind power developments in 2013 and beyond, albeit at a smaller scale
On the day after Super Tuesday, the federal Energy Information Administration came out with a striking fact: in 2011, the United States, for the first time since 1949, exported more petroleum products than it imported. On the big primary voting day, the same agency delivered news that might be even more relevant to current campaign oratory: the rise in gasoline prices is expected to continue. Its short-term forecast seemed particularly bleak: “During the April through September summer driving season this year, prices are forecast to average about $3.92 per gallon with a peak monthly average price of $3.96 per gallon in May.”
Here is the truth. If we are going to control our energy future, then we’ve got to have an all-of-the-above strategy. We’ve got to develop every source of American energy — not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels. We need to invest in the technology that will help us use less oil in our cars and our trucks, in our buildings, in our factories. That’s the only solution to the challenge. Because as we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down. It’s pretty straightforward. That’s the only solution to this challenge.
Environmentalists will link carbon emissions to asthma in a television ad campaign that begins today. The Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council are sponsoring the ad featuring elementary-school children wandering the halls of Congress with inhalers and wearing oxygen masks to meetings with lawmakers.