Biden to announce $120M in investments

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce plans to invest more than $120 million in solar power during a renewable energy conference in Anaheim, Calif., today. According to the White House, Biden will tout the administration’s plans to funnel the cash into solar projects in states across the country when he speaks at the Solar Power International conference this afternoon.

U.S. and Chinese Climate Change Negotiators to Meet in Los Angeles

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

President Obama’s top climate change negotiator will meet with his Chinese counterpart in Los Angeles on Tuesday to announce joint actions by cities, states and provinces in both countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The summit meeting follows a historic accord reached in Beijing in November by Mr. Obama and President Xi Jinping, who pledged to enact policies to cut emissions significantly. Mr. Obama said the United States would reduce planet-warming carbon emissions up to 28 percent by 2025, while Mr. Xi vowed that China would halt its emissions growth by 2030.

Industry, conservative groups lobby to kill renewable credits

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Oil and gas industry groups and conservative organizations are urging House lawmakers not to renew an expired wind energy tax credit when the lower chamber takes up its tax extenders package later this year. In a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), four right-leaning groups — including the Koch brothers-backed organization Americans for Prosperity — urged the House not to revive the wind energy production tax credit that expired at the end of last year. Heritage Action for America, the American Energy Alliance and the Club for Growth also signed onto the letter.

Bipartisan set of governors urge Senators to restore funding for wind energy research

Source: By American Wind Energy Association • Posted: Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Republican Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa sent a letter today on behalf of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition calling on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee to reverse its decision to hamper long-term investment in research advancing American wind power.“The nation’s long-term investment in research conducted by DOE’s energy programs, National Laboratories, our state universities, and private companies around the nation has helped fuel the extraordinary growth of the nation’s wind energy industry,” the letter states. “As governors, we see the benefits this innovative research has brought to our states, including energy diversification and continual wealth generation in rural America.”

Governors balk over DOE wind research cuts

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

With the end of the fiscal year approaching, governors are registering a bipartisan complaint over funding cuts to wind research programs at the Energy Department that were included in a Senate appropriations bill. The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, chaired by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), takes issue with a $61 million reduction for wind energy research from current funding levels that is contained in the $35.4 billion fiscal 2016 energy and water development spending bill approved in May. “Like federal support for other renewable energy and fossil energy research, investment in developing onshore and offshore wind energy is vital to the nation’s energy security and international competitiveness,” the governors wrote to Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and ranking member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) today. “And we feel it is important that the federal budget is not biased against one type of energy.”

‘Smart Cities’ program targets congestion, climate change

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

The Obama administration today proposed to invest more than $160 million in programs aimed at tackling climate change, reducing traffic congestion and other local efforts. The announcement of the administration’s new “Smart Cities” initiative comes as the White House hosts a forum today that convenes politicians, researchers, city representatives, members of the technology sector and others to discuss improving cities’ technology and infrastructure.

Sierra Nevada snowpack at 500-year low — report

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Snowpack levels in California’s Sierra Nevada are the lowest in at least five centuries, according to a sobering new academic report that warns that the ongoing drought could continue for the foreseeable future. At issue is a report, led by researchers at the University of Arizona, that used tree-ring data to estimate that low 2015 snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada are “unprecedented in the context of the past 500 years,” according to the two-page report, published online today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Grannies backed by James Hansen storm Capitol Hill with songs and climate warnings

Source: Malavika Vyawahare, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

At 12:45 on a muggy Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C., guitar notes rang out in the crowded cafeteria of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Stern-looking suit-clad men and women huddled over lunch or papers, or deep in conversation, were startled out of their activities by a flash mob of elderly citizens. “We’re on a planet that has a problem,” they chanted, gesturing and swaying in the front seating area, “We’ve got to solve it, get involved, and do it now, now, NOW!” An impassioned guitarist stood atop a chair and strummed on.

After Iran deal, Obama to pivot to climate change

Source: By MICHAEL CROWLEY, Politico • Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Buoyed by the success of his nuclear deal with Iran, President Barack Obama is preparing to move aggressively on other long-delayed priorities, including a major climate change summit this winter and his elusive quest to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The National Security Council’s directorate of strategic planning has been quietly building an agenda of action items for the closing year of Obama’s presidency, in a White House that sees its work as far from complete, administration officials say.

California lawmakers pass 50% renewable energy standard and efficiency package

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

California lawmakers passed a bill last week that moves the state further along its low-carbon path, although not as far as Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and legislative leaders would have liked.
The state Assembly voted Friday night, on the last day of the legislative session, to approve S.B. 350, which mandates a 50 percent renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) and a doubling of efficiency in existing buildings by 2030.