Former Secretary of State George Shultz is preparing to promote a carbon tax, putting him in the company of a small cluster of Republican statesmen who are embracing efforts to reduce greenhouse gases that their party has rejected. Shultz, who spent nearly seven years in President Reagan’s Cabinet, says a carbon tax that returns its revenue to taxpayers and public programs could eventually be accepted by the Republican Party, despite its current hostile outlook on measures that reduce emissions.
The Senate today sidestepped an opportunity to extend a key wind industry tax break when Democratic leaders declined to schedule a vote on a bipartisan amendment to a small-business tax bill. Supporters saw an amendment offered by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) as an opportunity to demonstrate bipartisan support for extending the wind production tax credit, which expires at the end of this year, because the amendment avoided political controversies that have helped sink earlier efforts to extend the PTC (E&E Daily, July 12).
Top officials at the Department of Energy will hit the road tomorrow to promote tax credits aimed at spurring clean energy manufacturing, biofuels development and the deployment of wind turbines, DOE announced today. Energy Secretary Steven Chu plans to travel to Wisconsin to visit a wind turbine manufacturer and biofuels research center, while Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman will participate in several events in Texas, including a visit to another wind component manufacturer.
A bipartisan pair of senators yesterday offered an amendment to a pending small business tax bill that would provide the Senate its first opportunity this year to vote on a straightforward extension of a key wind energy tax incentive, without delving into politically charged showdowns over unrelated issues such as oil company tax incentives or stimulus-funded renewable energy supports.
A surrogate for GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney said Wednesday that the presumptive nominee wants to end the production tax credit for wind energy projects, but is still deciding how the popular incentive should be phased out. Romney’s stance could be critical for the wind energy industry, which is lobbying hard to maintain the incentive that industry officials call vital to funding new power projects.
Environmentalists are coming down on a proposal to extend permits for the unintentional killing of eagles from five years to 30 years. As public lands are being opened up for renewable energy development, officials are using the unintentional killing permits as a means of setting clear ground rules for wildlife protection as spinning turbine blades at wind farms have killed birds.
The rollout of smart meters, devices that can record and send reams of information on real-time electricity usage, has been anything but smooth. Customers have complained about inaccurate readings, being promised savings that never materialized, possible health hazards and threats to their privacy. But utilities have soldiered on.
The amount of electricity generated by natural gas matched coal generation for the first time in history, with each taking 32 percent of the market in April, U.S. officials say. According to an Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, natural gas produced 95.9 million megawatt-hours, narrowly missing coal, which generated 96 million megawatt-hours. The report data are still preliminary, but even if final numbers shift moderately, the trend holds major implications for renewables, the environment and the U.S. economy.
As uncertainty over the fate of a key wind industry tax break seems likely to persist until at least the end of this year, officials at BP PLC are gaming out four scenarios for how their business will adapt depending on what Congress does, a top official at the company said yesterday.
The British government has approved the construction of two large offshore wind farms off the coast of Norfolk, at a combined cost of nearly $5 billion. The 580-megawatt Race Bank project will be developed by British utility Centrica, and developer Warwick Energy proposed the 560 MW Dudgeon project.