Rep. John Delaney told an audience at a conservative think tank yesterday that he’s drafting a bill to tax carbon that could lead to the repeal of President Obama’s signature policy of regulating CO2 emissions at power plants. “I think it would inevitably lead to that,” the Maryland Democrat said. Delaney made his Earth Day announcement at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy shop that has made splashes in Republican circles, not all of them welcome, by hosting discussions about taxing carbon.
U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told energy executives in Houston today that the Clean Power Plan wouldn’t harm grid reliability. Delivering a keynote address at IHS CERAWeek, McCarthy told executives from industries that would be regulated under the power plant rule that EPA has taken care not to disrupt their ability to deliver electricity to the public.
Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday renewed his call for climate change legislation, though Republican lawmakers continue to reject proposals to tax carbon and mandate biofuels as too costly for manufacturers and motorists, and potentially fatal to a transportation plan that depends on a gas tax increase. Speaking on Earth Day, Inslee said lawmakers have done “zero” for the environment this year. “An absolute goose egg,” he said.
This is solar’s year, at least in Washington state and Oregon, whose market growth should expand by a collective 200 megawatts of installed solar capacity, according to a recent Solar Energy Industries Association report. Titled “U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review,” the report said most of the growth centered around residential solar, with some commercial installations from Walgreens Co. and Safeway Inc. “all making significant investments in solar energy systems.”
It took dozens of people from utility, environmental, business and consumer groups to help North Carolina become the first state in the Southeast to have a renewable energy mandate in 2007. And it will take more than a small group of people to get rid of the standard, even if lower utility bills are dangled in front of legislators, based on comments during a committee debate yesterday afternoon.
Fresh on the heels of the Obama administration’s call for a stronger, more flexible electric grid that is resistant to the effects of climate change, a Senate quintet is going full speed ahead on greening the country’s energy system and adding technology to usher in more wind and solar. Four Democrats and one independent on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, including the panel’s top Democrat, are expected to unveil legislation in the coming days to modernize the United States’ aging electric grid and bolster storage, a technology that many experts say holds the keys to stabilizing the generation of intermittent renewable energy. Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is slated to join Democratic Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) in introducing the bill.
Oil producers are in survival mode, with all more or less following the same playbook for weathering the crude price slump while crossing fingers for better times next year. Executives across the industry have gathered here for the annual IHS CERAWeek conference, the largest annual meeting of insiders from all facets of the energy sector. Topic No. 1 is the sharp drop in oil prices that began in the fourth quarter of 2014 and what to do about it.
The Dutch green energy project, which will cost roughly $3 billion to build, is expected to generate enough power for 1.5 million people when it starts producing electricity in 2017.
When completed, the venture will become the latest in a series of renewables projects that have sprouted off the coasts of Britain, Germany and Denmark, helping make Europe the global leader in producing green energy from wind farms far at sea. “Offshore wind in Europe is quickly maturing,” said John Brace, chief executive of Northland Power, a Canadian energy company that owns a majority stake in the Dutch offshore wind project, called Gemini. “Europe is serious about greening its power supplies. There’s both political and public support for these types of projects.”
Now, flow batteries are being viewed as a possible way to help the electrical grid handle greater amounts of renewable energy, and they are being developed further by companies like UniEnergy Technologies, the maker of the Pullman battery, and academic and government researchers. Because solar panels and wind turbines produce varying amounts of electricity during the day, utilities and system operators must work harder to integrate the renewable sources into the grid. Batteries are one way to do this, by storing excess electricity from solar panels during the middle of the day, for example, and releasing it in the evening.
What Yale is doing, Nordhaus said, is adopting a mantra requiring departments and administrators to consider the complete sticker price that comes with constructing a new dormitory, for example, or expanding energy-intensive facilities. “You can build it, but you have to pay the whole cost,” said Nordhaus, describing the school’s carbon-taxing plan and calling carbon taxes “instinctive to economists.” Based on energy consumption, the program would levy a charge against university departments of $40 per metric ton of emissions. That $40 number is the current figure the federal government uses to estimate the social cost of carbon, a term describing the complete economic and societal costs underpinning greenhouse gas emissions.