A surge in U.S. oil production has in just a few short years propelled the United States from a country largely dependent on oil imports to one that soon could become the world’s top oil producer. The goal of North American energy self-sufficiency, the holy grail of American politics since the Arab oil boycott of 1973, seems to be within grasp. The revolution has taken place almost unnoticed — and in a way that few foresaw less than a decade ago, when the emphasis on breaking America’s foreign oil dependence was almost entirely on persuading Americans to drive less, turn the thermostat up or down and open protected areas to oil exploration.
Mr. Podesta, named a senior adviser to President Obama, is not currently a lobbyist and therefore does not have to worry about the Obama administration’s self-imposed ban on hiring lobbyists to administration jobs. But he will nonetheless arrive at the White House after having run an organization that has taken millions of dollars in corporate donations in recent years and has its own team of lobbyists who have pushed an agenda that sometimes echoes the interests of these corporate supporters.
Udall is set to argue in a floor speech later this week or next that hundreds of Colorado jobs in the industry depend on the wind Production Tax Credit, or “PTC.”
“I’ll do whatever it takes to get the tax credit extended,” Udall told FOX31 Denver Thursday. “We’re not only protecting jobs but we’re making this new energy in America. Wind manufacturing employs 1,500 people in Colorado today and supports over 5,000 jobs statewide. We need to extend the credit long-term. It’s crucial to wind energy and our nation’s energy independence. If we don’t do it, these jobs are going to go overseas to China and even India.”
The future of electric power in Texas will depend largely on the state’s ability to tap its sizable natural gas and renewable energy resources, a new report prepared by the Brattle Group for the Texas Clean Energy Coalition (TCEC) has found. The report, released yesterday, examines six scenarios under which Texas might meet rising electricity demand using gas, wind and solar energy as primary fuels and explores how rising and falling prices for each energy source affect the operation of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid through 2032.
Even with the last-minute extension in January, 2013 has been a tough year for wind in the U.S. It took much of the year for companies to regroup. According to a letter to Congressional leadership from 11 governors of states with large wind infrastructure, just one turbine was installed in the U.S. in the first two quarters of 2013.
A new study led by government and academic researchers finds new wind farms using the most modern equipment are still killing hundreds of thousands of birds each year in collisions, a finding seized upon by conservation activists. The study published in this month’s Biological Conservation says as many as 328,000 birds are killed each year in collisions with so-called monopole wind turbines that are increasingly preferred by the wind power industry and are in use today.
“In the Midwest, we’re now seeing power agreements being signed with wind farms at as low as $25 per megawatt-hour,” said Stephen Byrd, Morgan Stanley’s Head of North American Equity Research for Power & Utilities and Clean Energy, at the Columbia Energy Symposium in late November. “Compare that to the variable cost of a gas plant at $30 per megawatt-hour. …”
As U.S. EPA crafts proposed standards for existing power plants, which policy mechanisms hold the most promise in meeting the interests of key stakeholders? During today’s OnPoint, Susan Tierney, managing principal at the Analysis Group, discusses the policy design challenges facing the agency and the market factors that could affect the regulations’ success.
Amid an exodus of White House environmental advisers, greens got reason to cheer late yesterday as Democratic heavy hitter John Podesta, a longtime critic of Canadian oil sands development, signed on as a White House adviser with a focus on climate change. A former chief of staff to President Clinton and founder of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, Podesta is a crucial ally of environmentalists pushing Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. His new job on Obama’s team, confirmed by a CAP colleague and first reported by The New York Times, comes nine days after an anti-KXL forum co-hosted by an arm of Podesta’s think tank. The appointment inspired activists to recirculate a speech he delivered more than three years ago blasting the Canadian oil sands as “polluting, destructive, expensive and energy intensive.”
President Obama, after a rocky year that leaves him at the lowest ebb of his presidency, is bringing into his White House circle the longtime Democratic strategist John D. Podesta, a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton. Mr. Podesta, who has agreed to serve as counselor for a year, led Mr. Obama’s presidential transition in 2008 and has been an outside adviser since then. He also has occasionally criticized the administration, if gently, from his perch as the founder and former president of the Center for American Progress, a center-left public policy research group that has provided personnel and policy ideas to the administration.