Oregon Legislature’s transportation debate heats up

Source: By JONATHAN J. COOPER, Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Legislative Republicans are threatening to block a proposed transportation package if Democrats move forward with legislation aimed at combating greenhouse gases. Senate President Peter Courtney said Tuesday the development makes him pessimistic about the prospects for a gas tax increase to pay for transportation projects.

Inslee’s carbon price plan draws a divided crowd at hearing 

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) broad climate bill to make polluters pay for carbon emissions sparked heated debate yesterday during state lawmakers’ first public hearing on it, which quickly filled the legislative chamber and spilled out into several overflow rooms. More than three dozen speakers testified before the House Environment Committee, while outside the chamber, groups demonstrated both in support of and opposition to H.B. 1314.

Iowa poised to move back up in wind power production ranking

Source: By Dar Danielson, Iowa Radio • Posted: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Iowa remains third in the country for the amount of electricity produced by wind power, but could move up as more projects are built this year. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released its annual report on wind production today and it shows Iowa in third place behind Texas and California. AWEA analyst, Emily Williams says 2014 saw a record number of new wind turbines built as the industry saw a rebound.

Senate votes down PTC amendment 

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

A majority of the Senate went on record yesterday against reinstating an expired renewable energy tax credit through the end of the decade.The 47-51 failure of a nonbinding measure calling for a five-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) delivered a tough start to the year for supporters of the wind energy industry, the credit’s primary beneficiary.

Comment: Offshore wind power means better business, better beaches

Source: By Jackie Savitz, vice president, Oceana, The • Posted: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The push by some politicians and the oil industry to expand offshore drilling to the Atlantic is the wrong way to create jobs and lower gas prices. In fact, offshore wind development off the East Coast could produce twice as many jobs and energy as offshore drilling while alleviating the risk of catastrophic oil spills.

Comment: Carbon Morality

Source: By David Crane, President and CEO, NRG Energy, EnergyBiz • Posted: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The societal issue we own, obviously, is climate change, the mother of all social issues. We are as an industry – for the sake only of the casual uninformed reader perusing this issue of EnergyBiz in the dentist’s waiting room – the single largest emitter domestically of CO2, as a result of our overwhelming dependence on fossil fuel-based power generation. We should have seen it coming back in 2007, when the proud and mighty TXU was forced into the hands of private equity because it had ignited a firestorm of controversy by announcing its plans to build 11 new coal plants in the coal-friendly and deeply conservative state of Texas.

Industry, greens air concerns over Obama leasing plan

Source: Phil Taylor and Daniel Bush, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Oil and gas officials and environmentalists panned the Obama administration’s move today to open Atlantic and Arctic waters to potential new drilling, a proposal that will leave a lasting mark on the president’s energy and environmental legacy. The Interior Department bid to allow a potential 2021 lease sale in waters from Virginia to Georgia and additional sales in the oil-rich but often perilous waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas was blasted by Republicans as too timid and by Democrats as environmentally reckless.

Agency’s reviews key to implementing Clean Power Plan — LaFleur 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur today said her agency’s reviews of natural gas infrastructure, transmission and evolving markets will underpin implementation of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, despite drawing unparalleled pushback.”Pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition, from local and national groups, including environmental activists,” LaFleur told attendees at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, D.C. “We’ve got a situation here.”

Just 15 votes — but a subtle and important shift for the GOP 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Last week, 15 Senate Republicans abandoned their party’s tried-and-true “I’m not a scientist” stance to back amendments affirming that human emissions are at least partly responsible for global warming. The shift in message was subtle, and some political experts said it wasn’t a shift at all. There have always been Republicans who acknowledged that human activity has a hand in climate change, they said, and the two amendments to the Keystone XL oil pipeline bill merely gave them a forum to express it.

Renewable Groups Urge EPA To Boost Solar, Wind Assumptions In ESPS

Source: By John Siciliano, Inside EPA • Posted: Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Renewable energy groups say EPA used old data in calculating states’ greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets under the existing power plant rule, which underestimates the potential of solar, wind and other renewables in meeting the goals and creates a scenario where states may “over-rely” on natural gas to meet the rule’s targets. The renewable industry groups are urging EPA to update the existing source performance standards (ESPS) to reflect higher values for renewable energy potential, include more accurate cost assumptions, and adopt the “alternative approach” that EPA proposed that the industry believes is a more accurate method to calculate the rule’s state-specific targets.