Political head winds are likely to slow progress on energy legislation until next year at the earliest, veteran congressional observers on both sides of the aisle said yesterday. That bleak prognosis is hardly surprising to many who have watched a divided 112th Congress spend much of the past two years fighting over basic duties such as keeping the government funded. But the long view offered by Bob Simon, top aide to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Democratic majority, and former senior GOP energy adviser David Conover hardly sounded like a funereal dirge for substantive environmental policymaking.
The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition announced Monday that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber would take over as chairman and vice chairman of the group, which is focused on communicating the benefits of wind energy and lobbying the federal government to extend the production tax credit.
President Barack Obama will follow two scripts on his trip to Iowa on Thursday. He will visit a wind turbine blade manufacturer in Newton to warn how the pending loss of two wind energy tax credits will hurt Iowa’s economy, White House aides told The Des Moines Register.
Then he will do a campaign event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, where he will be free to rip GOP rival Mitt Romney. The Democrats’ line of attack lately: Romney was a corporate buyout specialist, and his profits-over-people philosophy will have severe consequences for the middle class if he’s elect
For most of his 20-year career, Hans Detweiler lobbied state and federal officials to boost wind farms in the Midwest, but a couple of years ago he concluded he could make a bigger impact as a businessman than as a policy advocate. The former lobbyist for both the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center and the American Wind Energy Association in Washington is championing a multiyear effort to build a $1.7 billion, 500-mile high-voltage power line to connect northwest Iowa, one of the windiest spots in the U.S., to Chicago, the Midwest’s biggest energy consumer.
As municipal budgets continue to be cut, some cities around the world are looking to harness wind to power their streetlights. While other cities have opted to use technologies such as light-emitting diodes and smart lighting, wind power — through distributed energy — has been an option that allows municipalities to cut down on fossil fuel usage and get off the traditional grid. The distributed renewable energy market was estimated to be about $70 billion globally last year and is expected to top $150 billion by 2015.
The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition today welcomed Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber as the new chairman and vice chairman of the Coalition.
To attract bipartisan support, a proposed federal requirement that utilities use carbon-free energy may need to be packaged with a clause to pre-empt U.S. EPA greenhouse gas rules, key senators said today. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said he would be open to amending his “Clean Energy Standard Act” to include some EPA pre-emption, and ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said the change would cause her to rethink her current opposition to the proposal. They spoke to E&E after a hearing on the CES bill, where a variety of experts said it would make sense to pre-empt at least some EPA rules if such a standard were in place.
With a bevy of tax provisions — including a wind-energy break — set to expire at year’s end, the House’s top tax writer promised today that all stakeholders would be included as his committee weighs its options. The Ways and Means Committee’s subpanel on temporary tax measures will convene a hearing next month to consider arguments for and against the variety of “tax extenders” that will disappear in January unless Congress intervenes.
A major wind industry tax credit may not be up for a vote in the House before the election, but it is in the “top tier” of credits likely to receive an extension among dozens of temporary breaks slated to expire at the end of this year, a key Republican said yesterday. While the House subpanel tasked with evaluating “tax extenders” is still relatively early in its evaluation of which of the 100-plus expiring credits deserve an extension, the wind industry’s intensive lobbying effort throughout the year for the production tax credit seems to be paying off. “I would say it’s probably on the top tier in terms of what we have heard from both members and private sector,” Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), who chairs the Ways and Means subpanel on select revenue measures, told E&E Daily in a brief interview off the House floor yesterday.
The wind-power industry is fully backing voluntary federal guidelines aimed at siting and operating wind farms in ways that minimize impacts to birds, bats and wildlife habitat. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and 40 wind-power companies this week sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar pledging to adhere to the guidelines, which were developed over a five-year period by a Fish and Wildlife Service advisory committee that included industry officials, conservation leaders, representatives of American Indian tribes, and federal and state regulators.