Controversial phrase makes prominent return in Obama speech — and few are happy

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

In touting his “all of the above” energy strategy, the president slighted 18 environmental groups, including some of the largest in the nation, which asked him less than two weeks ago to strike that phrase from his vocabulary. At the same time, he did little to quiet his critics in the Republican Party and segments of the energy industry who say the words are meaningless.

Obama speech to highlight congressional inaction

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

When it comes to energy, Obama’s annual speeches have gotten increasingly pugnacious toward the deeply divided legislative branch, which has failed to act on measures with broad bipartisan support — and has even struggled to keep the government’s doors open, thanks to bitter budget disputes. Obama set the new tone last year. “If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” he said in his last State of the Union speech, directing his Cabinet to circumvent the lawmakers seated around him on the House floor.

Traditional utilities challenge solar power companies in upper Midwest

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Two states best known for their development of wind power and biofuels — Iowa and Minnesota — have emerged as battlegrounds in the national debate over whether solar power can claim a larger share of electricity markets traditionally dominated by large, rate-based utilities. In separate but similar cases, two renewable energy firms — Eagle Point Solar of Dubuque, Iowa, and Geronimo Energy of Edina, Minn. — are asking authorities to allow for the expansion of solar energy in their respective states over objections from utilities that have their own ideas about how electricity markets should work.

Controversial former FERC nominee joins Brookings

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Ron Binz, a former controversial Obama nominee to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is joining the Brookings Institution as a senior fellow. Binz, a former Colorado regulator, is joining Brookings’ Energy Security Initiative (ESI) to research and publish papers.

Acting chairwoman would like another term, more time at helm

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

The acting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairwoman expressed interest today in being renominated and continuing as the agency’s leader. Cheryl LaFleur was nominated to the commission by President Obama in 2010 and recently replaced Jon Wellinghoff, the agency’s longest-serving chairman. LaFleur’s term expires in June.

FERC eases price cap in PJM amid unprecedented gas price spikes

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Federal regulators on Friday permitted grid operators in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic to temporarily allow generators to exceed a $1,000-per-megawatt-hour price cap on power from gas-fired power plants, citing unprecedented gas price spikes. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted PJM Interconnection’s request to waive the cap through March 31 in response to “unprecedented spikes in fuel costs caused by recurring extreme cold weather events.” PJM had initially told market participants it would ask for a waiver through March 1.

Forget Intermittency: NREL Says Wind Energy Can Boost Grid Reliability

Source: by Silvio Marcacci Silvio, Marcacci Communications, Clean Technica • Posted: Monday, January 27th, 2014

We’ve all heard the warnings about how intermittent renewables could “crash” the grid if for instance all of a sudden the wind stops blowing and grid operators are left in the lurch for power when they need it. But what if wind turbines actually improve grid reliability? May sound far-fetched to some people, but that’s exactly what the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reports in the new study Active Power Controls from Wind Power: Bridging the Gaps.

Wyoming wind power could save California ratepayers $750M, energy lab says

Source: By BEN STORROW, Wyoming Star-Tribune staff writer • Posted: Monday, January 27th, 2014

A preliminary report suggests Wyoming wind power could save California ratepayers $750 million annually. Those findings, announced by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at a meeting of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority here on Friday, was the latest in a series of reports backed by Cowboy State policymakers aimed at promoting the state’s wind industry.

U.S. Offshore Wind Farm, Made in Europe

Source: By DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Friday, January 24th, 2014

Carl Horstmann strode around the floor of his factory here, passing welders honing head-high metal tubes as sparks flew. He is one of a dying breed: the owner of Mass Tank, a steel tank manufacturer in a down-at-the-heels region that was once a hub of the craft. Four years ago, having heard of plans to build a $2.6 billion wind farm off the shores of Cape Cod, he saw opportunity. Much of the work, the developers and the politicians promised, would go to American companies like his, in what would be the dawn of a lucrative offshore wind industry in the United States.

Industry Awakens to Threat of Climate Change

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Friday, January 24th, 2014

“Increased droughts, more unpredictable variability, 100-year floods every two years,” said Jeffrey Seabright, Coke’s vice president for environment and water resources, listing the problems that he said were also disrupting the company’s supply of sugar cane and sugar beets, as well as citrus for its fruit juices. “When we look at our most essential ingredients, we see those events as threats.”