Lancaster County Board’s strict noise restrictions for wind turbines a blow to wind-farm developers

Source: By Paul Hammel / World-Herald Bureau • Posted: Thursday, November 12th, 2015

In a vote that could affect wind farm development elsewhere in Nebraska, the Lancaster County Board on Tuesday adopted tough new noise restrictions on wind turbines. The restrictions prohibit wind turbines from generating more than 40 decibels of noise during the day — about what’s generated by a household refrigerator — as measured at nearby residences. Currently, 50 decibels is recognized as a standard noise limit by several Nebraska counties.

These could be the first U.S. states to tax carbon — and give their residents a nice paycheck

Source: By Chelsea Harvey, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, November 12th, 2015

In Washington state, a circulating petition might be the key to both permanently cutting down on the state’s carbon footprint and also reforming what is widely considered one of the nation’s most regressive tax systems. If enough signatures are secured, the petition will allow the United States’ first-ever carbon tax a spot on the ballot.

Barrier-breaking physicist clears path for solar power

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 12th, 2015

The leader of the Department of Energy effort to drive down the cost of solar power enjoys a big challenge. When Lidija Sekaric was recruited for the SunShot initiative in 2010, she turned up her nose at the program’s goal — lowering the installed cost of solar from $2 a watt to 50 cents by 2020. “We were not ambitious enough for her,” then-Director Minh Le recalled in a recent interview. “I pitch it to her that we are going to reduce costs by 75 percent, and her immediate reaction — with a straight face — was, ‘Why not 25 cents per watt?'”

New Jersey Offshore Wind Leases Won by RES Americas, US Wind

Source: By Chris Martin, Bloomberg News • Posted: Thursday, November 12th, 2015

RES Americas Developments Inc. and US Wind Inc. won leases to build wind farms off the coast of New Jersey in a U.S. Interior Department auction Monday. Closely held RES Americas agreed to pay almost $881,000 for a lease area with about 160,500 acres. US Wind, a unit of the Italian construction and engineering company Toto SpA, won a site with more than 183,000 acres with a bid of slightly more than $1 million, the department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said in a statement Monday. Fishermen’s Energy LLC also participated in the auction.

European firm pitches huge wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard

Source: By Jay Fitzgerald, BOSTON GLOBE • Posted: Thursday, November 12th, 2015

A major European energy company is proposing what could be North America’s largest offshore wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, outlining its plans less than a year after the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound suffered a stunning financial setback. Denmark-based DONG Energy A/S, the world’s largest developer of offshore wind farms, Monday said it would build up to 100 giant wind turbines, generating as much as 1,000 megawatts of electricity — more than double the output Cape Wind had proposed for its site off Cape Cod.

Shift to Lower-Carbon Energy Is Too Slow, Report Warns

Source: By STANLEY REED, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Even as the world shifts toward lower-carbon forms of energy, the changes are happening too slowly to keep global temperatures from rising to dangerous levels in the coming decades, an international research group warns in a report released on Tuesday. nd low oil prices could make the problem worse by slowing the planet’s transition to cleaner and more efficient cars, trucks and aircraft, according to the report, by the International Energy Agency. The group represents nearly 30 countries and aims to promote secure and environmentally sustainable global energy.

How a 2012 book foreshadowed recent reports on Exxon’s changing climate views

Source: Malavika Vyawahare, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

With the launch of an investigation into Exxon Mobil Corp.’s climate stance by New York’s attorney general, talk of wide-ranging tobacco-style litigation against Exxon and other oil and gas companies has amplified. But if the Exxon inquiry does blow up into a battle against civil and criminal charges, the oil and gas major may have one big advantage that the tobacco industry, which for years denied that smoking was injurious to human health, did not: lessons from the tobacco industry’s flawed defensive tactics that led to a $206 billion settlement.

Feds sell N.J. leases for $1.9M

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

The Interior Department today announced plans to award two wind energy leases off the New Jersey coast for $1.9 million, a key step in developing a federal wind energy area with an estimated 3,400 megawatts of commercial potential. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s online auction lasted seven rounds and drew competitive bidding from three companies. RES America Developments Inc. submitted a winning bid of $881,000 for the rights to develop 160,000 acres in the southern half of a wind energy area about 8 miles from Atlantic City. US Wind Inc. submitted a winning bid of $1 million to develop 183,000 acres in the northern half.

In Keystone Snub, Obama Tries to Lockdown His Climate Legacy

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

For years, President Barack Obama chided Republicans and Democrats alike for treating the Keystone XL pipeline as a signal of whether the U.S. would seriously fight global warming. Now that he’s killed the project, Obama is holding it up as Exhibit A as he works to lock in his environmental legacy with a powerful international climate accord.

Resistance on the Land: Natural Gas Pipeline Plans Opposed

Source: By Steve Szkotak, The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

From New England to North Carolina, scattered insurgencies have formed in opposition to a spider web of pipelines up and down the Eastern Seaboard as the nation’s energy industry seeks to move pent-up natural gas supplies. Behind the pipeline boom: vast deposits of natural gas being drilled in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio and ready for shipment to U.S. and international markets. “Essentially, the takeaway is they’re re-plumbing the whole United States,” said Timothy R. Carr, a West Virginia University geologist.