Climate change is a severe threat that transcends day-to-day political issues and must be tackled aggressively, California Gov. Jerry Brown said here yesterday as he promoted his executive order seeking a 40 percent cut in greenhouse gases by 2030. “There’s nothing as serious as the possibility of fundamentally and radically altering the conditions of human existence in a profoundly detrimental way,” the Democrat told people gathered at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference. “That’s the stakes. They couldn’t be bigger.” Brown yesterday morning ordered the cut in heat-trapping pollution to a target of 40 percent below 1990 levels within 15 years. That would put the state halfway to its goal of by 2050 getting carbon levels 80 percent below 1990’s point.
The wind power industry says new turbines are bringing a near-record amount of power capacity to the United States. The American Wind Energy Association released a study Thursday reporting that 100 wind power projects with a generating capacity of 13,600 megawatts are under construction in 23 states during the first quarter of the year. Three states — Texas, Iowa and New York — completed new wind turbine projects with a generating capacity of 131 megawatts during the first three months of the year.
Construction is to start this summer on the 400-megawatt project, located about 12 miles northeast of O’Neill, and be completed in 2016, adding to the state’s existing 810-megawatt wind energy capacity. BHE did not disclose the purchase price. A spokeswoman said the investment would total hundreds of millions of dollars, with the exact amount depending on factors still being negotiated. Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of BHE Renewables, said the project would help Omaha Public Power District meet its goal of generating 30 percent of its power from renewable sources.
The nation’s most windpower-reliant utility said it will invest $300 million to purchase and complete a North Dakota wind farm under development by Edina-based Geronimo Energy. The deal, announced to investors and regulators on Thursday, salvages a project that might otherwise not be built because no wind energy company had stepped forward to purchase and operate it. Xcel always intended to buy the electricity produced by the 100-turbine Courtenay Wind Farm planned in Stutsman County, N.D. But the utility didn’t initially intend to own the project, one of four large wind farms for which Xcel signed deals in 2013. Two others are under construction.
More than 40 percent of Americans live in areas that record high levels of air pollution, according to the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report released today. Forty-four percent of the country, or 138.5 million people, live in areas with average levels of fine particle and ozone pollution above U.S. EPA standards, the report found. That’s a reduction from last year’s report, which found that 147 million people were breathing unhealthy air. But the new report — which is based on average 2011-2013 data — found that progress was not shared equally throughout the country.
A low-carbon future is “inevitable,” and the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan is intended to send utilities the market signals necessary to guide those investments, Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “A low carbon future is absolutely inevitable. The question is how quickly will that come out and who will win,” McCarthy said April 28 at Columbia University’s Global Energy Summit in New York.
States face wide variations in Clean Power Plan compliance costs and outcomes depending on the paths they choose and how much time U.S. EPA allows them for writing compliance strategies, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The Washington, D.C., nonprofit’s modeling explores options the draft rule offers to states, projecting outcomes based on whether states choose regional or individual emission plans and weighing variables that include the cost of natural gas.
The modeling projects that the EPA rule will cost $9.7 billion in 2020 and $15.7 billion in 2030 annually before savings from demand-side efficiency are factored in.
Officials say a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. plans to build a 400-megawtt wind farm in northeast Nebraska and sell all the power to Omaha Public Power District. The Omaha World-Herald reports that a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, BHE Renewables, bought Grande Prairie Farm from Geronimo Energy, of Edina, Minnesota. BHE didn’t disclose the purchase price. Geronimo had bought it from a Chicago developer in 2013. The other companies have arranged leases, obtained permits and completed other development steps.
Here are some things to know about California Gov. Jerry Brown’s new target for reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) today ordered the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, calling it the most ambitious climate target in North America.
The executive order comes as state lawmakers are already considering a 2030 target and follows an inaugural pledge Brown made in January to halve petroleum consumption and achieve 50 percent renewable energy by that date. Brown said the goal, which is based on a 1990 emissions base line, is aimed at aligning California with “leading international governments” ahead of the U.N. climate talks in Paris this December. The European Union set a 2030 target in October, he noted.