News

Final approval of Calif. project marks renewables milestone

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has authorized construction of the largest wind farm project on federal land in California, a major milestone in BLM’s ongoing efforts to significantly expand wind power production in the Golden State. Salazar signed a record of decision (ROD) late Friday for the Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Facility, which calls for stringing together 112 wind power turbines across about 10,000 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Southern California’s Imperial County.

CES would have to limit cost increases to 5% to pass Congress — study

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Americans would be willing to pay about 13 percent more on their annual electric bills to support a clean energy standard of 80 percent by 2035, although members of Congress would be unwilling to support any policy that carried larger than a 5 percent annual price increase, according to a study published this week. Americans are generally willing to pay more for electricity if utilities were required to generate the bulk of their power from clean sources, but there is unlikely to be sufficient support in Congress for such a policy unless annual electric bills increase by less than 5 percent, according to a study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. By contrast, a proposed CES bill from Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) is estimated to raise electricity costs by an average of 18 percent in 2035, though the increases would be more modest when they first took effect

Interior announces progress on Atlantic transmission ‘backbone’

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

The Obama administration is moving forward with a transmission project to connect several thousand megawatts of offshore wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean, after confirming that there is no competitive interest from other developers. Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes today announced that Atlantic Grid Holdings LLC is the only firm interested in building a 300-mile high-voltage transmission line from New York to Virginia, clearing the way for the agency to initiate an environmental review.

Offshore Transmission Line Takes a Step Forward

Source: By MATTHEW L. WALD, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

A pioneering proposal to build a wind power transmission line on the ocean floor from southern Virginia to northern New Jersey cleared a hurdle on Monday when the Interior Department opened the way for the project’s sponsors to start work on an environmental impact statement. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, part of the Interior Department, said that no competitor had emerged for the right-of-way for the proposed transmission line, known as the Atlantic Wind Connection, allowing the bureau to issue a “determination of no competitive interest.” By linking wind farms 15 to 20 miles off the coast, the backbone would greatly reduce the number of individual radial lines needed to bring the energy to shore.

Tenaska is a powerhouse at 25

Source: By Steve Jordon, WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER • Posted: Monday, May 14th, 2012

No surprise that longtime Omaha construction and mining company Kiewit Corp. is the 26th-largest privately owned company in the nation, based on its $9.94 billion in revenue last year. But you might be surprised to know that another Omaha-based company tops Kiewit on that Forbes magazine list, making it the biggest privately owned company in Nebraska or Iowa.

NPPD moratorium could stall wind energy development in Nebraska

Source: By ALGIS J. LAUKAITIS / Lincoln Journal Star • Posted: Monday, May 14th, 2012

Nebraska’s gust of wind energy could be slowing to a breeze. The Nebraska Public Power District — considered the leader in wind energy development in the state — intends to build few, if any, wind farms over the next five years. Wind energy supporters view NPPD’s decision — outlined in a resolution — as a moratorium. They say the state’s largest electric utility should be doing more, not less, to develop wind energy resources.

Wind industry’s future in question as tax credit nears end

Source: By K Kaufmann, The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun, USAToday • Posted: Monday, May 14th, 2012

The end of a key federal tax incentive for the wind industry could put a damper on much-needed wind turbine replacement efforts — known as repowering — just as many of the region’s iconic windmills are hitting the upper limit of their 30-year lifespan. The credit provides wind developers a tax break of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the power they generate from utility-scale wind projects for the first 10 years of production. It’s set to expire Dec. 31.

White House, analysts, utilities to weigh in on Bingaman CES bill

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 14th, 2012

Soon after President Obama announced the goal of converting 80 percent of America’s electricity generation to “clean” sources in his 2011 State of the Union address, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman started working to translate the idea into legislation. Bingaman’s “Clean Energy Standard Act” was introduced earlier this year and has been analyzed by the administration’s energy number-crunchers; this week brings the next step when the New Mexico Democrat convenes the first hearing on the proposa

Big Oil invests billions in alternative energy

Source: E&E • Posted: Friday, May 11th, 2012

Oil majors have become the biggest investor in the clean fuels industry, sinking $71 billion into low- and no-emission and renewable energy technologies over the last decade, according to a report from the American Petroleum Institute. By contrast, the U.S. government has spent about $43 billion on its low-carbon energy efforts over the same time period, the report says.

Left, right duel on elimination of energy tax supports

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 11th, 2012

Two liberal lawmakers today unveiled what one called the “most comprehensive” bill to eliminate government support for oil, natural gas and coal production, aiming to slash more than $113 billion in tax incentives, research and development spending, and other funding for those industries over the next decade. Two counterparts from the other side of the aisle panned the effort while pointing to a separate bill they have been pushing for months that would narrowly target two little-used fossil fuel tax benefits while taking the hatchet to a broad array of tax supports for renewable energy.