Comment: Congress must not let wind energy jobs blow away

Source: By Michael Brune and Leo W. Gerard, The Hill • Posted: Friday, November 21st, 2014

Wind energy provides a powerful success story. In 2012, wind was our nation’s fastest-growing source of new electrical capacity. Wind power is a clean, renewable energy source that produces no greenhouse gases or air pollution and consumes virtually no water. As its share of our nation’s energy mix increases, we’re also protecting our planet.The wind industry currently employs more than 50,000 American workers and produces enough clean energy to power 15 million homes. Wind energy creates good-paying jobs for the workers who build, maintain, and operate wind turbines, and who support operations. A strong domestic wind industry is essential to the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing and good manufacturing jobs.

Grassley: Don’t ‘pull the rug out’ from wind energy

Source: By Ramsey Cox, The Hill • Posted: Friday, November 21st, 2014

Grassley said he was encouraged to hear that House and Senate lawmakers are holding informal talks to work out a tax extenders package. The tax code has been expired for 11 months and if lawmakers don’t pass a package by the end of the year to extend tax deductions, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could have to retroactively address the issue if something is passed next year.“Tax season is unpleasant enough without us adding to it,” Grassley said. “It’s now time to get to work and get the extenders bill done.”

Lawmakers seek way out of appropriations, tax extenders morass

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 21st, 2014

While political drama over the Keystone XL pipeline and President Obama’s impending immigration announcement have captured most of the public attention on Capitol Hill since lawmakers returned last week, negotiations are continuing behind the scenes over legislation to keep the government running and renew dozens of lapsed tax incentives for renewable energy and other businesses. Resolution of the tax and spending debates is unlikely until at least next month, but discussions remain ongoing over several areas that sharply divide House and Senate majorities, including renewable energy tax breaks and appropriations riders that would limit U.S. EPA rules.

Ikea buys second wind farm in U.S.

Source: By Peter Kelly-Detwiler, Forbes • Posted: Thursday, November 20th, 2014

The company purchased the 165-megawatt facility in Cameron County, Texas, as part of Ikea’s goal to completely offset its energy use with renewables such as wind and solar power by 2020, according to Ikea U.S. acting President Rob Olson. The wind farm will produce enough electricity for 90,000 average homes in the United States.

Republican Senate a boon to carbon bill — Whitehouse

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse today said the Republican takeover of the Senate may actually help pass legislation putting a price on carbon emissions. The Rhode Island Democrat said his new bill to place a $42-per-metric-ton levy on carbon from fossil fuels production and imports may have “significant opportunities” to become law, precisely because Republicans will gain the majority next year.

Business, enviro groups call for extension of renewable energy incentives

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Hundreds of environmental groups and clean energy firms are urging Congress to renew the production tax credit and other incentives that expired at the end of last year. The letter sent by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and more than 450 other organizations comes amid continuing debate on Capitol Hill over how to handle the several dozen lapsed tax breaks collectively known as “extenders.”

Federal watchdog to probe agency’s enforcement program

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

At the heart of the scuffle was a hedge fund, Powhatan Energy Fund LLC, that publicly fumed over FERC’s investigation of it over accusations that it gamed the energy markets. Kevin and Rich Gates, identical twins who manage the fund in Pennsylvania, warned that FERC’s foray into investigations under the direction of Bay — best known as the director of FERC’s Office of Enforcement since 2009 — was too ambitious and misplaced at times. Separately, William Scherman, FERC’s former general counsel and a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal saying the Gateses’ experience with FERC was just the “tip of the iceberg.” Scherman, notably, has been critical of FERC for not clarifying what constitutes market manipulation.

Obama sprints into his final years with an expanding climate message

Source: Evan Lehmann, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

President Obama is charging into his term’s fourth quarter in a climate sprint. In the last week, he talked about cutting gasoline subsidies in Asia, urged young Australians to pressure skeptical politicians and accepted a knotty adaptation report for U.S. cities. Those efforts came amid major announcements on a pact with China to control greenhouse gases and a $3 billion proposal to strengthen poor countries against climate impacts. Together, it signals the maneuvering of an administration that’s trying to take a lead role in upcoming international climate negotiations. It also marks a challenge to the rising Republican majority in Congress.

Company sues Interior to block release of bird death data to press

Source: AP/London Guardia • Posted: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Hoping to block the release of information about bird kills from wind turbines, a Portland, Ore., energy company is suing the Interior Department. PacifiCorp, which operates at least 13 wind energy facilities across three states, is trying to stop the Obama administration from releasing data about birds found dead at its facilities. The Associated Press requested the information from the Interior Department in March 2013 under the Freedom of Information Act.

Whitehouse bill could pave the way for a bipartisan carbon emissions price

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

The carbon pricing bill Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will release later today is virtually assured to attract support only from the chamber’s Democrats. But backers of the Rhode Island Democrat’s approach — a carbon “fee” levied on emitters with revenue returned to the public — said they hope it will help pave the way for the most elusive of legislative achievements: a bipartisan climate change bill.