The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today approved a request from grid operators in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic to temporarily let their generators exceed a long-standing $1,000-per-megawatt-hour price limit for electricity sold into the market. FERC granted the waiver for PJM Interconnection, which oversees the grid in 13 states and the District of Columbia, through the end of March.
The Interior Department today released an online mapping tool and data pinpointing the locations of more than 47,000 onshore wind power turbines, a two-year effort Interior officials say will help ensure that commercial-scale wind development has as few landscape-level impacts as possible. The interactive map represents the first time the locations of every onshore wind turbine installed since last July have been collected and mapped on one website. And federal officials said today it should help researchers better gauge the impacts of wind development on everything from air traffic radars to fatal bird collisions with turbine blades.
As she prepares to take the helm of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) yesterday said she plans to keep the panel’s existing senior staff for “a time” but is also merging her own aides into the mix. Landrieu also appealed to state regulators yesterday to help her smoothly transition into her role as chairwoman in remarks at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ winter meeting.
President Obama’s pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Norman Bay, offers the administration what many FERC watchers say it needed after the failed nomination last year of former Colorado utility regulator Ron Binz. A clean slate.
A offshore wind farm being developed off the coast of Rhode Island has qualified for a lucrative federal tax credit by signing a turbine purchase contract. The 30-megawatt Block Island project being developed by Deepwater Wind will use five 6 MW turbines supplied by French manufacturer Alstom, the companies announced today. The purchase should allow Deepwater to qualify for the federal investment tax credit (ITC), which would cover 30 percent of its costs, said Jeffrey Grybowski, the company’s CEO.
Top Senate Democrats are calling on the acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to speed up the sharing of trader information with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to prevent energy market manipulation. Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and other top senators called on CFTC acting Chairman Mark Wetjen in a letter last week to share the data in compliance with the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which was enacted in 2010.
Congressional Democrats should have pushed renewable energy legislation instead of a cap-and-trade bill when they controlled Capitol Hill in President Obama’s first term, a Democratic senator told a Washington, D.C., ballroom packed with labor and environmental advocates today. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota lamented that the Democratic-controlled 111th Congress failed to advance a standard requiring utilities to draw a share of their output from renewable sources like wind and solar energy.
She said reducing greenhouse gas emissions needs to be done “without sacrificing our reliable, affordable energy system. And we need to do it with every sensitivity to workers that have brought energy to American families. It’s not just about jobs, it is about communities where those workers live and we need to be sensitive to those issues as we struggle to find the right solutions moving forward,” McCarthy said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other top Democratic senators today asked federal grid overseers to determine whether “minimum standards” are needed to better protect the U.S. grid following a high-profile and mysterious attack on the grid in California that’s grabbing national headlines.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is publicly confirming that the agency’s first-time climate rule for existing power plants will offer a way to “incent” energy efficiency and renewable energy, remarks observers say are the clearest signals to date that EPA plans to accommodate a widespread request from states and others to offer beyond-the-fenceline credit for programs that cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.