The president’s nominee to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has vowed to shelve his consulting firm and shed investments in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, a critical step in the wake of past ethics controversies. Ron Binz, a pro-renewables champion and former Colorado utility regulator, pledged in a June 17 letter to stop consulting at a firm he has operated since 1995 and to sell up to $50,000 in shares of Berkshire Hathaway.
The installation rate of offshore wind turbines in Europe doubled in the first half of the year, with Siemens AG accounting for 83 percent of the new capacity. Nations including the United Kingdom and Germany are increasingly relying on offshore wind to help meet carbon reduction and renewable energy goals.
The Senate today is scheduled to vote to confirm Gina McCarthy to lead U.S. EPA, but a broader showdown over whether to limit the filibuster still threatens to throw the upper chamber into chaos as no agreement emerged from a closed-door meeting that went well into the night.
State officials in Albany yesterday released their most comprehensive study of offshore wind potential to date in an attempt to shape where future projects are placed.
The 154-page technical analysis from the Department of State is the result of two years of work on the marine wildlife, biology, culture and economic potential. In all, the study covers more than 16,000 square miles of state and federal waters.
Rising temperatures, decreasing water availability, more severe storms and rising seas stemming from climate change are already affecting every part of the country’s energy sector, and those threats will only grow more severe in years to come, the Energy Department said today.
Bill Richardson often denigrated America’s power transmission network as a “third-world grid” when he was President Bill Clinton’s energy secretary, but the more current description of it is “balkanized,” with 500 separate owners. Marc L. Spitzer, a former member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said even that analogy was not harsh enough. “To call the U.S. grid balkanized would insult the Macedonians,” he said.
The good news is policy makers in states across the country, including recently in Kansas and North Carolina, are choosing clean energy facts over fossil fuel fiction, and doing so in bipartisan fashion. In fact, no state has repealed a renewable electricity standard, ever. Ohio should not be the first to reverse progress on clean energy.
There’s a growing belief that U.S. EPA’s second proposal for curbing carbon dioxide from future power plants has changed emission limits. Those who are closely tracking the rule now say coal and natural gas might be treated separately under the proposal EPA sent to the White House for review last week.
Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems is holding a job fair for new projects that could provide more than 100 new jobs.
President Obama’s call to action on climate change has electric utilities scrambling to craft a response to a key part of the president’s plan, a rule for curbing greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.
In a June 25 speech at Georgetown University, Obama asked U.S. EPA to include utilities and other stakeholders in rulemaking for power plants, which is widely expected to begin formally after Labor Day. The plan calls for EPA to complete a proposal by June 2014 and finalize a rule by 2015.
EPA, the president said, should craft the rules in an “open and transparent way, to provide flexibility to different states with different needs, and build on the leadership that many states, and cities, and companies have already shown.” The agency is being asked to consult with stakeholders ahead of the proposal’s completion.