The Republican Senate majority elected last night places a bull’s-eye squarely on U.S. EPA’s power-sector greenhouse gas rules, but opinions vary on whether those efforts will hit their mark.Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who seems poised to become the new Senate majority leader in January, said on the campaign trail that if voters returned him to Washington, D.C., with a Republican majority, he would make rolling back EPA’s power plant rules a top priority.
The tax landscape is similarly uncertain. The House has voted to make permanent just a few of the perennially expiring breaks known as “tax extenders,” such as the research and development tax credit, and GOP leaders there say they would like to end most of the incentives that are typically combined in an extenders package. In the Senate, Democratic leaders are pushing for a broader bill that won bipartisan support in the Finance Committee to continue all of the extenders through the end of next year, including provisions for renewable energy and biofuels.
Forty-seven protesters opposed to a proliferation of gas projects and the use of hydraulic fracturing were arrested today in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at locations in Maryland and New York, according to event organizers. Twenty-five protesters were arrested by the Federal Protective Service while blocking the entrances to the commission’s headquarters in D.C., said Melinda Tuhus, an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy.
From 200 miles above, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield looked out a window of the International Space Station at the shimmering lights below and snapped a photo of Germany’s capital. At night, the city’s streetlamps trace the roads splaying from the city center like a spiderweb. The lights and the darkness in between chronicle the city’s modern history.
World’s climate experts lay out ‘severe,’ ‘irreversible’ alternatives to a global treaty cutting CO2 emissions
Pressure for a new global treaty on climate change grew yesterday after the completion of a landmark U.N. science report that warned of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” unless global warming is tackled immediately. “This global system of our Earth is having really a high temperature,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at a press conference announcing the report. “So when your child is sick with a temperature, you have to take all medication and, if necessary, bring to doctors. This is what we have to do now.”
A bipartisan coalition of governors today called on the Energy Department to use its authority to support much-needed power lines and open wind energy markets, although at least one governor who belongs to the group hasn’t signed off. The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition today sent Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz a letter urging him to use for the first time his authority under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to partner with power marketing administrations to develop, build, operate and own new power lines that meet certain criteria. The coalition includes governors from across the nation, including the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic and the arid Southwest, as well as Hawaii.
“It’s time to begin in earnest a discussion of our nation’s transmission needs and to focus on the benefitsof getting renewable energy resources like wind to the people and businesses who want them,” saysWashington Gov. Jay Inslee, vice chairman of the coalition. “The Court of Appeals has spoken. Let’s get to work.” In a letter sent to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Inslee and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard,chairman of the coalition, urged the secretary to use his authority under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 topromote high-voltage transmission facilities that could encourage clean energy and economicdevelopment.
Substantial shakeups are likely in gubernatorial races across the country tomorrow, and the outcomes could have significant impact on national energy policy for the next four years. Voters in a whopping 36 states will choose governors when they head to the polls tomorrow, and candidates are running neck and neck in many of those races. About a dozen gubernatorial contests are considered tossups by experts keeping close tabs on the elections.
Where the U.S. wind power industry has struggled to regain its footing after 21 months of slow growth and political wrangling over tax credits, developers in neighboring Canada are aggressively taking up the slack, with an expected 4,500 megawatts of new wind power expected to come online by 2017. That follows a record 1,600 MW of wind energy added to Canada’s electricity grid last year, compared with just under 1,100 MW in the United States. This despite the fact that the U.S. electricity market is nearly seven times larger than Canada’s based on 2013 consumption figures reported to Enerdata, a global consulting firm.
The Pentagon is objecting to a proposed wind energy project on the Eastern Shore of Maryland because the turbines could create a security risk by interfering with operations at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), whose district includes the base, released a letter from the Department of Defense and said officials concluded that the wind turbines pose “a significant threat” to the “world-class stealth radar system” used at the base.