Iowa poised to move back up in wind power production ranking

Source: By Dar Danielson, Iowa Radio • Posted: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Iowa remains third in the country for the amount of electricity produced by wind power, but could move up as more projects are built this year. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released its annual report on wind production today and it shows Iowa in third place behind Texas and California. AWEA analyst, Emily Williams says 2014 saw a record number of new wind turbines built as the industry saw a rebound.

Senate votes down PTC amendment 

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

A majority of the Senate went on record yesterday against reinstating an expired renewable energy tax credit through the end of the decade.The 47-51 failure of a nonbinding measure calling for a five-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) delivered a tough start to the year for supporters of the wind energy industry, the credit’s primary beneficiary.

Comment: Offshore wind power means better business, better beaches

Source: By Jackie Savitz, vice president, Oceana, The • Posted: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The push by some politicians and the oil industry to expand offshore drilling to the Atlantic is the wrong way to create jobs and lower gas prices. In fact, offshore wind development off the East Coast could produce twice as many jobs and energy as offshore drilling while alleviating the risk of catastrophic oil spills.

Comment: Carbon Morality

Source: By David Crane, President and CEO, NRG Energy, EnergyBiz • Posted: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The societal issue we own, obviously, is climate change, the mother of all social issues. We are as an industry – for the sake only of the casual uninformed reader perusing this issue of EnergyBiz in the dentist’s waiting room – the single largest emitter domestically of CO2, as a result of our overwhelming dependence on fossil fuel-based power generation. We should have seen it coming back in 2007, when the proud and mighty TXU was forced into the hands of private equity because it had ignited a firestorm of controversy by announcing its plans to build 11 new coal plants in the coal-friendly and deeply conservative state of Texas.

Industry, greens air concerns over Obama leasing plan

Source: Phil Taylor and Daniel Bush, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Oil and gas officials and environmentalists panned the Obama administration’s move today to open Atlantic and Arctic waters to potential new drilling, a proposal that will leave a lasting mark on the president’s energy and environmental legacy. The Interior Department bid to allow a potential 2021 lease sale in waters from Virginia to Georgia and additional sales in the oil-rich but often perilous waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas was blasted by Republicans as too timid and by Democrats as environmentally reckless.

Agency’s reviews key to implementing Clean Power Plan — LaFleur 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur today said her agency’s reviews of natural gas infrastructure, transmission and evolving markets will underpin implementation of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, despite drawing unparalleled pushback.”Pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition, from local and national groups, including environmental activists,” LaFleur told attendees at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, D.C. “We’ve got a situation here.”

Just 15 votes — but a subtle and important shift for the GOP 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Last week, 15 Senate Republicans abandoned their party’s tried-and-true “I’m not a scientist” stance to back amendments affirming that human emissions are at least partly responsible for global warming. The shift in message was subtle, and some political experts said it wasn’t a shift at all. There have always been Republicans who acknowledged that human activity has a hand in climate change, they said, and the two amendments to the Keystone XL oil pipeline bill merely gave them a forum to express it.

Renewable Groups Urge EPA To Boost Solar, Wind Assumptions In ESPS

Source: By John Siciliano, Inside EPA • Posted: Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Renewable energy groups say EPA used old data in calculating states’ greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets under the existing power plant rule, which underestimates the potential of solar, wind and other renewables in meeting the goals and creates a scenario where states may “over-rely” on natural gas to meet the rule’s targets. The renewable industry groups are urging EPA to update the existing source performance standards (ESPS) to reflect higher values for renewable energy potential, include more accurate cost assumptions, and adopt the “alternative approach” that EPA proposed that the industry believes is a more accurate method to calculate the rule’s state-specific targets.

Bloomberg, Paulson and Steyer release bipartisan report on climate change risks to Midwest 

Source: Benjamin Hulac, Niina Heikkinen and Daniel Cusick, E&E reporters • Posted: Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

The Midwest is home to 1 in 5 Americans and an outsized manufacturing sector that consumes 20 percent more energy per dollar of economic output than the national average, the report found. The region is responsible for higher per-capita greenhouse gas emissions, too, emitting 22 percent more than the U.S. average. In a county-by-county perspective, the study compiled results on heat-related deaths, increased electricity demand, climbing energy costs, dipping labor output, dwindling crop yields and damage to transportation infrastructure.

Obama admin to approve hotly debated N.M.-to-Ariz. project 

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

The Interior Department is set to issue final approval of a 515-mile-long multistate transmission line project that the Obama administration considers a top priority but that has been hounded by concerns it could compromise a New Mexico missile testing range and degrade a pristine Arizona river valley. At issue is the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, which is projected to carry as much as 4,500 megawatts of what proponents say will be mostly wind-generated electricity from northeast New Mexico to an electric distribution point northwest of Tucson, Ariz.