Solar advocates say new pricing plans will hurt progress

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Iowa’s two largest utilities want to build big community solar gardens that could give customers record access to alternative energy from wind and solar. But their plans come at a potentially high price, renewable energy advocates contend. MidAmerican’s and Alliant’s proposals for paying consumers for the solar energy they generate at their homes, businesses and stores could double or triple the time needed to recoup the investment, essentially quashing development of the fledgling industry in the state.

Offshore Wind Key to New York Meeting Renewable Energy Targets

Source: By Joe Ryan, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

New York will need to tap offshore wind, one of the most expensive sources of electricity, to meet its clean energy goals, according to the state’s chairman of energy and finance. “We are not going to be achieve our 50 percent goals by 2030 without offshore wind,” said Richard Kauffman, the former chairman of Levi Strauss & Co. who was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to revamp New York’s energy system.

Berkshire Hathaway Sees Power Market as Electrons’

Source: By Maureen Malik, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Warren Buffett joked in his letter to shareholders last month that he’s “not ready for Tinder,” the dating app. Turns out, some of his holdings are ready for electronic match ups. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s energy unit has been courting three dozen power transmission operators in the western U.S. to join its utilities and the California grid in trading power across their borders electronically and instantaneously. This means traders wouldn’t need to pick up the phone or send e-mails each hour to schedule the purchase and sale of renewables while hoping the sun and wind hold out until the next hour.

Obstacles remain on Senate energy bill, Flint aid

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Energy overhaul legislation and an aid package for Flint, Mich., remain stalled in the Senate with no prospects for quick action. “I keep hearing that they’re closer and closer to resolution, but they haven’t gotten there yet. I’m not giving up hope,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas).

EPA and its allies warn of ‘monumental’ climate threat

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

In a wave of briefs filed with the D.C. Circuit last week ahead of a court deadline, many of the rule’s supporters also provided anecdotes to bolster the administration’s message. “We are so dependent on agriculture and farmers are such an important part of our state economically and culturally in every way, and climate change presents enormous problems for farmers, particularly in terms of the temperatures,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (D), an intervenor in the case, said during a press call. Miller noted that while temperatures are “pretty close to ideal in Iowa right now, that could change dramatically over time.”

Orders for lower-price Tesla reach 276,000

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Worldwide orders for the new lower-priced Tesla electric car hit 276,000 over the weekend, surprising even the company’s CEO, who says it may force Tesla to open another factory. CEO Elon Musk posted the number Sunday on his Twitter feed and said if the trend continues, Model 3 orders could hit 500,000 and would require another factory in Europe to meet demand.

Minn. poised to import Canadian hydro to cut carbon

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Officials say those wind and hydro resources will be critical to complying with the Clean Power Plan, which requires Minnesota to achieve a nearly 42 percent rate reduction in power-sector carbon emissions by 2030. “Without our link to the north, I think we’d have a very different recipe for getting there,” David McMillan, Minnesota Power’s executive vice president, said of the utility’s compliance strategy. “There are very few resources like this that can produce energy around the clock, 12 months of the year, and do so in an entirely emissions-free manner.”

Solar And Wind Energy May Be Nice, But How Can We Store It?

Source: By JEFF BRADY, Morning Edition, NPR • Posted: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Renewable energy like solar and wind is booming across the country as the costs of production have come down. But the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t blow when we need it to. This challenge has sparked a technology race to store energy — one that goes beyond your typical battery.

Editorial: Making Way for Wind Power

Source: By Editorial Board. New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

If the United States is going to get serious about cutting carbon emissions from oil and gas, it will have to find ways to scale up its use of renewable energy. Converting wind and solar power into electricity is, in some ways, the easy part. The bigger challenge is developing the infrastructure to transmit that electricity across the country. In the case of wind, most of that power is generated far from the urban centers that would use it. Transmission would require a new nationwide system of power lines reaching from the windiest parts of the country. Such a system could also allow power suppliers the flexibility to shift supply depending on variations in weather.

Renewable tax fight resurrected in aviation bill debate

Source: Geof Koss and Christa Marshall, E&E reporters • Posted: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Senate Democrats are pushing to extend a key renewable tax break for a number of power sources in legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration that is slated to receive a vote later this week. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) yesterday filed cloture on a House-passed tax measure, H.R. 636, that will be the vehicle for the FAA bill, with the procedural vote expected tomorrow. Meanwhile, Michigan Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters last night signaled that there had been no progress on finding a compromise to allow votes on the Senate’s energy bill and a package to provide assistance to residents of Flint, Mich., to cope with the city’s drinking water crisis.