PacifiCorp, the parent company of Pacific Power, provides power across six states, its 16,300-plus miles of transmission lines spread like a fishing net over Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Washington and Northern California. Bringing the two together means potentially lower costs for consumers for electrical power, whether generated from fossil fuels or renewable sources such as wind, water and solar. A merger could put more renewable power on the grid and drive down the cost to generate that power, according to PacifiCorp and advocates for renewable energy.
The agenda for Thursday’s infrastructure hearing includes 22 bills introduced by members on both sides of the aisle. ENR Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) last week stressed her desire to put aside “messaging” bills that have monopolized much of the congressional agenda in recent years. She and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) are looking for areas of bipartisan agreement on needed updates to federal energy policies that have not been significantly changed since passage of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.
The North Carolina House just passed a bill that would freeze the state’s renewable energy standard in favor of a study committee to look at new policies, however. Broadly, South Carolina utilities are planning to add solar to the grid to follow a new state law that allows for long-term financing arrangements of solar panels and net metering. Florida, however, has made strides in utility-scale solar but has restrictive policies when it comes to homeowners and businesses having rooftop solar arrays. Despite the inconsistent policies, developers say the region is maturing, and the market continues to approach grid parity.
Last Thursday, Tesla Motors Inc. announced a new line of batteries to power buildings and the electric grid. Two days ago, CEO Elon Musk said that the response was so strong that Tesla is considering raising production by 50 percent or more at its new battery factory, already slated to be the largest in the world. “So, I mean, there’s, like, no way that we could possibly satisfy this demand this year, and we’re basically like sold out through the middle of next year in the first week. It was just crazy,” Musk said on a phone call with industry analysts.
U.S. EPA sent today its final rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants to the White House for review. EPA is working toward finalizing the rule in midsummer, along with its Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. EPA also plans to submit a federal proposal for meeting the Clean Power Plan at the same time. The new power plant rule, proposed under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards program, would require developers of coal-fired power plants to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, appearing on “The Daily Show” last night, talked Iranian nuclear negotiations and clean energy technology with host Jon Stewart. In an extended interview posted online by Comedy Central, Moniz managed to plug several of DOE’s programs and initiatives on the popular late-night comedy show. Stewart asked Moniz about crumbling energy infrastructure, and the Cabinet secretary mentioned a recently released, much-anticipated department report, at least among energy wonks.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will speak at the country’s most prominent wind industry conference this month, the American Wind Energy Association said today. Moniz’s appearance at AWEA’s conference, May 18-21 in Orlando, Fla., will be the first for a Department of Energy chief. In his speech, Moniz is expected to focus on DOE’s Wind Vision program, which recently issued a report showcasing how domestic wind energy production could jump to 35 percent of overall domestic power generation by 2050.
When Paris plays host to United Nations climate talks later this year, French officials are planning to remind anyone who will listen that nuclear reactors are a low-carbon power source. But if the French can no longer demonstrate that modern nuclear power plants can be built on time and on budget, that could add to the stigma that has made many countries think twice, over concerns about safety and radioactive waste. Germany and Switzerland, for example, have dropped nuclear power as an energy option.
New Bedford, Mass. may have lost a chance at a new industry. New Bedford is an old whaling port, where Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, lived and worked. Last year, then-Governor Deval Patrick said New Bedford would become a capital of offshore wind power. So it seemed. This year, success looks as elusive as Captain Ahab’s white whale. Simon Rios reports from WBUR.
“Whenever Congress asks us for technical assistance we provide it,” Kenderdine said. “They haven’t asked for technical assistance at this point in time. We just sat down yesterday as I mentioned to start firming up an implementation plan — there are 63 recommendations in the QER, and we’re going through looking at ones that actually require statutory changes.” The bulk of the review’s recommendations, she added, don’t require statutory changes, and there are many steps the administration and DOE can take on their own.