New wind turbine maps could reduce impacts to radar, birds, landscapes

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

The Interior Department today released an online mapping tool and data pinpointing the locations of more than 47,000 onshore wind power turbines, a two-year effort Interior officials say will help ensure that commercial-scale wind development has as few landscape-level impacts as possible. The interactive map represents the first time the locations of every onshore wind turbine installed since last July have been collected and mapped on one website. And federal officials said today it should help researchers better gauge the impacts of wind development on everything from air traffic radars to fatal bird collisions with turbine blades.

Landrieu ponders staff changes, outreach as she girds to take gavel

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

As she prepares to take the helm of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) yesterday said she plans to keep the panel’s existing senior staff for “a time” but is also merging her own aides into the mix. Landrieu also appealed to state regulators yesterday to help her smoothly transition into her role as chairwoman in remarks at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ winter meeting.

Nominee’s lack of policy experience seen as asset after Binz collapse

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

President Obama’s pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Norman Bay, offers the administration what many FERC watchers say it needed after the failed nomination last year of former Colorado utility regulator Ron Binz. A clean slate.

Early project aims for tax credit with turbine supply agreement

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

A offshore wind farm being developed off the coast of Rhode Island has qualified for a lucrative federal tax credit by signing a turbine purchase contract. The 30-megawatt Block Island project being developed by Deepwater Wind will use five 6 MW turbines supplied by French manufacturer Alstom, the companies announced today. The purchase should allow Deepwater to qualify for the federal investment tax credit (ITC), which would cover 30 percent of its costs, said Jeffrey Grybowski, the company’s CEO.

Top Senate Dems call on CFTC to share trader data

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Top Senate Democrats are calling on the acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to speed up the sharing of trader information with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to prevent energy market manipulation. Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and other top senators called on CFTC acting Chairman Mark Wetjen in a letter last week to share the data in compliance with the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which was enacted in 2010.

Senator says Dems erred in promoting cap and trade ahead of renewable standard

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Congressional Democrats should have pushed renewable energy legislation instead of a cap-and-trade bill when they controlled Capitol Hill in President Obama’s first term, a Democratic senator told a Washington, D.C., ballroom packed with labor and environmental advocates today. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota lamented that the Democratic-controlled 111th Congress failed to advance a standard requiring utilities to draw a share of their output from renewable sources like wind and solar energy.

McCarthy Highlights Economic Threats From Inaction On Climate Change

Source: Amanda Palleschi, Inside EPA • Posted: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

She said reducing greenhouse gas emissions needs to be done “without sacrificing our reliable, affordable energy system. And we need to do it with every sensitivity to workers that have brought energy to American families. It’s not just about jobs, it is about communities where those workers live and we need to be sensitive to those issues as we struggle to find the right solutions moving forward,” McCarthy said.

Reid, top Dems ask grid overseers to probe protections

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 10th, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other top Democratic senators today asked federal grid overseers to determine whether “minimum standards” are needed to better protect the U.S. grid following a high-profile and mysterious attack on the grid in California that’s grabbing national headlines.

McCarthy Says Power Plant Climate Rule Will Push Efficiency, Renewables

Source: Chris Knight, Inside EPA • Posted: Monday, February 10th, 2014

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is publicly confirming that the agency’s first-time climate rule for existing power plants will offer a way to “incent” energy efficiency and renewable energy, remarks observers say are the clearest signals to date that EPA plans to accommodate a widespread request from states and others to offer beyond-the-fenceline credit for programs that cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Firm seeks to harness Wyoming’s wind energy for California

Source: By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Monday, February 10th, 2014

Miller, a wiry man who spent much of his career in the oil and gas business, is in charge of building a massive wind farm on a cattle ranch owned by Anschutz Corp., better known in Los Angeles as co-owner of Staples Center. It would produce as much power as three nuclear reactors, making it the largest wind-generation facility in the nation, if not the world. But not a single kilowatt would be consumed in Wyoming. Instead, it would feed a new 750-mile transmission line to the California grid, where the electricity would help California’s crusade against global warming, while much of Wyoming continues to rely on the fuel that is one of the big contributors to climate change: coal.