The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would close the book on two programs that helped fuel the state’s years-long surge in wind energy production. With a 21-10 vote, the chamber sent Sen. Troy Fraser’s proposal, Senate Bill 931, to House lawmakers. It would end the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which established a state renewable energy goal. It would also close Texas’ Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) initiative, a power line program that sparked huge investments in wind energy.
Norway plans to drop investments in companies emitting unacceptable amounts of greenhouse gases in a sharpening of environmental rules for its $885 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Finance Ministry said on Friday. The proposed rules would stop short of a blanket divestment from coal and oil by the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, it said. The fund is itself built on revenues from Norway’s offshore oil and gas production. “The government will introduce a new criterion to exclude companies whose conduct to an unacceptable degree entail greenhouse gas emissions,” it said.
Want to increase the use of green energy and reduce the level of harmful emissions? Invest heavily in the grid to both modernize and expand it, which will accomplish such aims while also building the US economy. That’s the view of energy and utility experts assembled by Public Utilities Fortnightly at its energy, money and power conference last week in Washington, DC. A smarter and more extensive grid that is able to distribute greener power is expensive. But the benefits of creating a modern infrastructure are huge.
A key House Energy and Commerce Committee subpanel will hear testimony this week on draft legislation to allow states to opt out of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. EPA air chief Janet McCabe will headline today’s hearing on a draft bill sponsored by Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), which would grant all states a reprieve from deadlines to submit state implementation plans (SIPs) for the existing power plant carbon rule until judicial review has concluded. It would also let governors refuse to comply even then if they decide the rule will drive up electricity rates or harm grid reliability
Andrea Reimer, Vancouver’s deputy mayor told the Guardian: “There’s a compelling moral imperative but also a fantastic economic case to be a green city.” The 100% goal is likely to be set for a target year of 2030 or 2035. People and businesses want to live and work in clean and green urban areas, said Reimer, adding that whoever develops expertise in shifting to 100% renewable energy will own the 21st century.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration chief will discuss the agency’s 2015 energy outlook Thursday before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski will brief lawmakers on updated data and forecasts for domestic fossil fuel and renewable energy production, oil prices, and the nation’s energy future.
Energy companies and 15 predominantly Republican-led states will press federal judges this week to halt President Obama’s greenhouse gas standards for power plants. In two consolidated cases, West Virginia and Murray Energy Corp. are leading a bid for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to take the unusual step of preventing U.S. EPA from finalizing the standards — a key component of Obama’s effort to address climate change. A three-judge D.C. Circuit panel composed entirely of Republican appointees will hear arguments Thursday morning.
The transformation of the U.S. electricity sector will quicken in 2015, as the country is expected to rely on more natural gas, solar and wind energy than ever before, according to new projections published yesterday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Coal plant closures are also expected to peak this year, with 23 gigawatts of capacity coming offline in anticipation of tough new federal regulations targeting power plant emissions of mercury and other pollutants, Bloomberg analysts said in the firm’s “Midterm Outlook U.S. Power” for 2015.
Most of the electricity produced in Colorado still comes from burning coal, but even the state’s two largest coal burners are adding more renewable energy. The Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Platte River Power Authority each recently announced plans for new renewable energy sources. “We’ve seen the prices dropping, and we’ve been able to add these renewable energy projects,” said Lee Boughey, a spokesman for Westminster-based Tri-State. Tri-State announced this month that it would add a 150-megawatt wind farm in Kit Carson County. Platte River Power, based in Fort Collins, is set to add a 22-megawatt solar installation near Wellington.
When the King Mountain Wind Ranch was built in 2001 south of Odessa, Texas, it was the largest wind project in the world, with 214 turbines capable of generating 278 megawatts of electricity. Fourteen years later, the company that constructed King Mountain, RES Americas, has developed a total of 15 wind farms in Texas capable of generating about 2,200 megawatts of electricity — enough to power about 600,000 homes under average wind conditions. The developer has yet another wind farm currently under construction, all because the windswept Texas prairie “provided a great natural resource and Texans were supportive of wind energy,” says Chad Horton, vice president of development for RES Americas.