R.I. lawmakers back stronger renewable energy standards

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 24th, 2016

The Rhode Island General Assembly has voted to raise the state’s renewable energy standard to 40 percent by the end of 2035. Lawmakers approved the measure over the weekend, and the governor is expected to sign it into law soon. Mark Kresowik, a regional deputy director for the Sierra Club, called it a “great step toward ultimately getting to 100 percent clean energy in the region.”

Rhode Island set to raise renewables mandate to 40%

Source: By Richard A. Kessler in Fort Worth, Global Renewable Energy News • Posted: Friday, June 24th, 2016

Rhode Island’s legislature passed a bill that raises the renewable energy mandate from 14.5% by 2019 to 40% by 2035, joining a growing number of US states that have done so to diversify their energy mix and reduce CO2 emissions. Governor Gina Raimondo, a strong supporter of wind energy development, is expected to sign the bill, 2016-S 2185A/House 7413B into law.

Sit-in casts doubts about legislative prospects before election

Source: George Cahlink and Geof Koss, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, June 24th, 2016

Lawmakers and aides from both sides of the aisle said this week’s turn of events underscore how partisan Capitol Hill has become this election season. They say partisan tensions from the protest will leave an already polarized Congress even more hard-pressed to pass any significant legislation, including an energy overhaul and the annual spending bills, before this November’s general elections.

MIT sets targets for energy storage to aid renewables

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Storing electricity adds value to intermittent renewable energy, and a new study could help investors figure out where to place their bets on storage technology development. Lulls in wind and sunshine present a challenging problem for utilities that need to deliver stable power. Storing electrons for later — whether using batteries, flywheels or pumped hydropower — would help shave peaks and fill valleys in power production. However, much of the technology on the market isn’t ready for prime time, often too expensive or falling short in some critical performance metric.

Musk shrugs off stock plunge, defends Tesla-SolarCity deal

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Tesla Motors’ stock is taking a hit today as financial analysts question the wisdom of the automotive company joining forces with SolarCity. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced plans yesterday to acquire the solar installer as part of a broad effort to integrate the company’s existing residential battery business with solar power (ClimateWire, June 22). The stock had fallen more than 7 percent by publishing time. Meanwhile, multiple investors slammed the deal, with one saying it stretches the “bounds of industrial logic.”

Cost to Replace California Nuclear With Solar: $15 Billion

Source: By Jim Polson and Mark Chediak, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

PG&E Corp.’s plan to shut California’s last nuclear power plant by 2025 would cost $15 billion if all its output is replaced with solar-generated electricity at current prices, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analysts. Actual costs could be lower because the company expects to account for reduced demand and replace only part of the plant’s production, energy policy analyst Rob Barnett said Wednesday in an interview. PG&E plans to use a mix of renewables, storage and energy conservation in place of the Diablo Canyon nuclear complex, the utility’s chief executive officer, Tony Earley, said Tuesday.

Mont. energy plan straddles line between coal, renewables

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat facing re-election challenges, released an energy blueprint yesterday that he said is aimed at protecting coal jobs while embracing renewable power and energy efficiency. The state holds more coal reserves than any other — making the future of the energy sector a big election-year issue (ClimateWire, March 10). Montana is also grappling with what to do with its large Colstrip coal plant, which is facing environmental regulations and financial pressures as some co-owners eye exit strategies.

Va.’s offshore wind prospects weather financial doldrums

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Just last year, Virginia was poised to become the first U.S. state to tap the Atlantic coast’s offshore winds. That’s when Dominion Resources Inc., the commonwealth’s largest electric utility, doubled down on its promise to build a 12-megawatt wind power facility 25 miles off Virginia Beach, with notions of eventually siting hundreds of turbine towers across a swath of open ocean. But if Virginia was first out of the gate in its pursuit of offshore wind power, it has fallen far behind today as it watches a handful of other Atlantic states put “steel in the water” much more quickly than Dominion.

Cantwell cites ‘good progress’ after latest conference huddle

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) struck a more positive tone on negotiations to go to conference with the House on energy after meeting with top House and Senate lawmakers this morning, but stopped short of saying she’s ready to vote to launch formal talks. The ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee described “good conversations” with Energy Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska); House Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.); and House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.).

Denmark hits pause button on wind farms

Source: By Wall Street Journal • Posted: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

The Danish Parliament is considering delaying the construction of new wind farms as it prepares to end an electricity tax for renewable energy. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board called it a sign that “economic and political reality is catching up with Europe’s green ambitions.” The European Commission ruled that Denmark’s green levy on electricity bills violated E.U. rules in 2014. The levy contributes to energy bills that are the highest in Europe. Parliament is considering ending the levy altogether rather than fixing it.