Kan. regulators raise questions about Southwest Power Pool expansion

Source: Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Kansas utility regulators want the Southwest Power Pool to demonstrate how consumers in the state would benefit from the grid operator more than doubling the size of its footprint with the addition of the Upper Great Plains Region of the Western Area Power Administration. The three-member Kansas Corporation Commission ordered the investigation on the request of the commission staff, which in a Monday memo raised concerns about SPP membership terms for WAPA-Upper Great Plains and two other entities that jointly operate a regional transmission system known as the Integrated System.

What do renewable portfolio standards cost states? Not a lot, national labs say

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 12th, 2014

For over a decade, state renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) have been a major driver of clean energy in the United States. They’ve fed the growth of solar and wind power even in the absence of federal climate policy and laid some of the foundations on which U.S. EPA’s proposed carbon rule for existing power plants builds. At the same time, they’ve been subject to attacks in several GOP-led states, inevitably along the lines that they curb economic growth. So what are the costs of state standards for renewable energy? The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently crunched the numbers, and their answer is: only about 1 percent of retail electricity rates.

Talks on FERC nominees continue as Senate panel plans confirmation vote

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Jockeying over Federal Energy Regulatory Commission posts continued yesterday as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee announced plans to vote next week on nominees to lead the agency. The committee will vote on President Obama’s pick to lead FERC, Norman Bay, and acting Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur for another five-year term, an aide said. But the committee hasn’t set a date for the vote. The committee of 12 Democrats and 10 Republicans is trying to break a confirmation logjam, with some senators wary of Bay’s lack of experience as a regulator and others keen on seeing LaFleur holding onto the gavel.

Zichal joins lighting tech advisory board

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Former White House energy and climate adviser Heather Zichal is getting back in the game. Zichal, who left the administration late last year, has joined an advisory board of Sensity Systems, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based lighting technology company, the company announced today.

Commentary: Nothing partisan about renewing American wind power incentives

Source: By New Bedford, Mass. Mayor Jon Mitchell (D) and Virginia Beach, Va. Mayor Will Sessoms, The • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

As mayors of New Bedford, Massachusetts and Virginia Beach, Virginia, a Democrat and a Republican, we are not interested in partisan politics. We believe that effective job-creation strategies are critical for our cities to remain good places to work, live and raise families. We also believe that our local economies, and those of other communities from coast to coast, are primed to become the beneficiaries of thousands of new jobs from a new national renewable energy industry that has the capacity to power millions of homes – offshore wind. Simply put, the offshore wind opportunity is real and we cannot afford to miss it.

Early movers fret EPA climate rule won’t fully credit early investments

Source: Jean Chemnick and Hannah Northey, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Utilities that led the march to clean energy sources and efficiency are assessing whether they’ll get full credit for their efforts under U.S. EPA’s proposed climate change rule for existing power plants. At issue is EPA’s apparent use of 2012 as the cutoff year for states to claim credit for early emission-reduction measures. EPA’s proposal would allow states to take credit for projects, measures and policies that will lower carbon dioxide emissions for the life of the rule — through 2030. Spokeswoman Liz Purchia said that provision ensures that states with renewable energy standards and existing clean power infrastructure will be better-positioned to meet emission goals.

AWEA’s Gramlich discusses impact of existing source rule on wind energy growth

Source: Monica Trauzzi, E&E • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

How will U.S. EPA’s proposed standards for existing power plants impact the wind energy industry’s growth? During today’s OnPoint, Rob Gramlich, senior vice president of public policy at the American Wind Energy Association, discusses which states could benefit most from incorporating wind energy as part of their compliance mechanisms and talks about lobbying efforts to derail state renewable portfolio standards. Gramlich also explains why he believes the wind industry still needs the production tax credit, despite an expected boost from the existing source regulations.

AWEA To Ohio Governor: Veto ‘Wind Energy Killing’ Provision

Source: by NAW Staff, Tuesday June 10 2014 • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has called on Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, to use his line item veto to strike a provision in H.B.483 that places restrictive setbacks on new Ohio wind farms. According to the group, the provision jeopardizes billions of dollars in potential wind investments. “This would kill further wind energy development in Ohio unless the governor vetoes it,” says Rob Gramlich, AWEA’s senior vice president of public policy.

Despite Reid’s stated preference, senators float plan to make LaFleur chairwoman

Source: Nick Juliano and Hannah Northey, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

In an interview published in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Reid said, “I don’t want her as chair.” Meanwhile, Bay has faced bipartisan criticism over his lack of energy chops, keeping his nomination in limbo. A vote in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee had been expected this week but was delayed amid the ongoing negotiations, senators said yesterday. Committee aides did not respond to requests for comment.

Buffett bullish on utilities, warns against exports of ‘finite’ gas

Source: Rod Kuckro, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

As for renewables and especially distributed generation, for Buffett the debate is over. He cited President Obama’s paraphrasing of President Lincoln when he says, “‘With public opinion, I can do anything; without it, I can do nothing.’ You’ve got to be there when it’s getting formed; you’re not going to change it later on,” Buffett asserted. “So it’s enormously important for the industry to address public opinion,” which is strongly in favor of distributed generation, he said. Renewables are challenging the utility industry’s business model, Buffett said, noting his early decision to invest $15 billion in renewable assets. “And there’s another $15 billion ready to go, as far I’m concerned. It’s where the country is going; we’ve got to move in an intelligent way,” he said.