A first-term Democratic governor from the Pacific Northwest and a seasoned Republican from the Corn Belt have been appointed chairman and vice chairman of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, the organization announced yesterday. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), elected to the statehouse in 2012 after resigning his seat in the U.S. House, will lead the group alongside Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), a two-time governor who served from 1983 to 1999 and was elected again in 2010 after 12 years out of office. He was re-elected in 2014.
Duke Energy Florida announced plans Thursday to launch a major solar power effort that will produce electricity equivalent to that of a small power plant. The plan is a surprising move for Duke, which has held steadfast to the idea that solar won’t work in Florida without storage because the Sunshine State has too many clouds. Duke’s new position on solar comes as pressure mounts on Florida’s investor-owned utilities from homeowners and business owners who want more solar on their rooftops.
The Atlanta-based utility’s wholesale power unit, Southern Power, said last week it will buy a 299-megawatt wind operation in Oklahoma. Southern will not build, operate or maintain the project, nor will the company use any of the electricity generated from it. But the project is significant because it’s now Southern’s largest renewable energy-generating operation and the utility’s first major wind purchase. Buying the Kay Wind facility now — long after other utilities have jumped into wind — also demonstrates Southern’s desire not to go after something just because Wall Street likes it, analysts say.
Much is happening, in biotech, agriculture and in pharmaceuticals. When I first came to office, we were a big energy importing state. Now, we are #1 in ethanol, a leading biodiesel producer, and we are only behind states like Texas and California in wind. But as a percentage of our power usage we’re way ahead, with almost 30% of our power from wind. And there are the new cellulosic plants like POET-DSM, and in Nevada, DuPont is going to open one before the end of the year.
Coalition Welcomes Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the Coalition’s New Leadership Team
“States continue to play a leading role developing the nation’s renewable energy resources, and capturing the jobs and economic benefits that these growing clean energy industries provide,” said Governor Inslee. “Washington state’s wind energy industry has attracted more than $5.7 billion in investment since 2001 – creating thousands of jobs, supporting our rural communities and reducing emissions from our electricity sector. I look forward to working with Governor Branstad and our Coalition colleagues to promote federal and state policies that will help the wind energy industry continue to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio.”
Laurence H. Tribe, the highly regarded liberal scholar of constitutional law, still speaks of President Obama as a proud teacher would of a star student. “He was one of the most amazing research assistants I’ve ever had,” Mr. Tribe said in a recent interview. Mr. Obama worked for him at Harvard Law School, where Mr. Tribe has taught for four decades.
Mr. Tribe went on to serve in the Justice Department during Mr. Obama’s first term and has argued in favor of the legal standing of Mr. Obama’s signature health care law and executive orders on immigration.
The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition on Monday named Washington Gov. Jay Inslee as the group’s new chairman and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as the coalition’s vice chairman. “States continue to play a leading role developing the nation’s renewable energy resources, and capturing the jobs and economic benefits that these growing clean energy industries provide,” Inslee said in a statement.
“Renewable energy can provide large emissions reductions in a cost-effective manner when part of a balanced energy portfolio and provide significant positive economic returns to a state.” So say the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association in a new “handbook” for states to use in weighing how to include renewable energy in complying with the Clean Power Plan.
The White House today launched an initiative to provide military veterans with skills to join the solar industry as part of an overall goal of training 75,000 solar workers by 2020 — a 50 percent increase from a target set by the Energy Department a year ago.
Planned oil industry layoffs in the U.S. are approaching 100,000 in the past four months with more likely to come. Oil-producing states such as North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are catching the brunt of the cutbacks just as consumers are enjoying cheaper gasoline prices brought on by the 55% drop in crude oil prices since last June. “The entire Midwest from Texas to North Dakota is really feeling the effects,” says Moody’s Analytics economist Aaron Smith.