Of all the developed nations, few have pushed harder than Germany to find a solution to global warming. And towering symbols of that drive are appearing in the middle of the North Sea. They are wind turbines, standing as far as 60 miles from the mainland, stretching as high as 60-story buildings and costing up to $30 million apiece. On some of these giant machines, a single blade roughly equals the wingspan of the largest airliner in the sky, the Airbus A380. By year’s end, scores of new turbines will be sending low-emission electricity to German cities hundreds of miles to the south.
Google Inc., the Internet technology giant and green energy investor, will provide $145 million in equity funding to help construct one of the world’s largest brownfield-to-renewable energy sites. The 82-megawatt Regulus solar project in Kern County, Calif., will cover a 737-acre former oil and gas field with nearly a quarter-million solar photovoltaic modules, whose electricity output will be sufficient to power roughly 10,000 California homes.
Some states throughout the U.S. have implemented various policies to encourage renewables and energy efficiency that could be adopted by neighboring states to improve local economies, provide energy security and reduce emissions, according to a new study. In addition, the report says these innovative policies could be particularly valuable as states develop plans to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) pending rules to cut power plant emissions. One effective clean energy policy, the study points out, is a renewable portfolio standard (RPS).
A bipartisan group of senators today asked U.S. EPA to give the public more time to comment on its existing power plant greenhouse gas draft rule, citing its complexity and potential to overhaul the U.S. power grid. The letter, spearheaded by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), asked EPA to extend its Oct. 16 deadline by 60 days.
A Montana legislative committee has agreed to maintain an existing renewable energy standard. The move will require the state’s utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by next year.
The hearing, which featured testimony from state agency heads and public utility commissioners, focused primarily on states’ concerns over technical aspects and the overall feasibility of the Clean Power Plan (Greenwire, Sept. 9). But it also gave Democratic and Republican lawmakers a forum to place the issue in line with their parties’ platforms — for Democrats as an important environmental safeguard, and for Republicans as a burdensome piece of federal overreach.
Harvesting homegrown wind power improves our energy security and reliability by diversifying our energy mix and keeping energy costs low for consumers. For Americans to continue reaping these benefits, however, Congress must extend the renewable Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit as soon as possible. That will provide wind power with the critical policy stability Congress has provided to other energy sources for the last 100 years.
Fifteen GOP governors say President Obama’s signature climate change regulation on carbon pollution from existing power plants “exceeds the scope of federal law.” In a letter to Obama, the governors from states including North Carolina, Alaska, Arizona and Wisconsin said the rule, which requires the nation’s fleet of existing power plants to cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030, is an overreach of authority.
A split federal appeals court panel ruled yesterday that Exelon Corp. cannot force a Texas utility to buy power from its wind farms. In a 2-1 vote, judges on the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that several units of Chicago-based Exelon cannot force a subsidiary of Xcel Energy Inc. — Southwestern Public Service Co. — to buy wind power under a 1970s law aimed at bolstering renewables.
Senate Republicans today accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of trying to micromanage nominations to critical agencies tasked with overseeing the grid and energy infrastructure and asked two Obama nominees for assurances they would not bend to the senator’s political will.