Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski introduced 17 bills she is considering including in a broad energy package as several other members from both sides of the aisle floated their own ideas for inclusion. The goal: to address the massive changes underway in the energy industry since the last time a comprehensive bill was enacted in 2007 — such as the domestic oil and gas boom spurred by hydraulic fracturing and the transition to lower-carbon sources of energy driven by climate change regulations.
“It’s not going to benefit me to try to move a measure that has no bipartisan support. I might be able to move it through committee, but if I can’t actually move it through the floor, that’s a lot of work for no gain,” the Alaska Republican, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told reporters during a 40-minute briefing yesterday afternoon. “We’ve done a lot of messaging around these parts of late, and I want to actually make some changes to our energy policy,” Murkowski continued. “We haven’t done that since 2007; it’s way past time.”
An energy bill is continuing to take shape on Capitol Hill as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle yesterday floated infrastructure and supply proposals they hope to see included in a comprehensive, bipartisan piece of legislation. The House and Senate energy committees continue to solicit proposals for a bill to address energy supply, infrastructure, efficiency and regulatory reforms. Several senators introduced bills yesterday and more are expected today, as Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has asked her colleagues to get their ideas in this week. The chairwoman is expected to announce more energy bill hearings today.
Solar has the best potential to be the cleanest, most sustainable form of energy to fuel the world long term, a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says. But to be able to light up the world on a large scale, significant changes in technology, price and policies are needed. “Further advances are needed to enable a dramatic increase in the solar contribution at socially acceptable costs,” according to “The Future of Solar Energy” study, released yesterday by the MIT Energy Initiative.
The experts who watched Tesla’s announcement of its new batteries last week noticed two things that may forever change the trajectory of energy storage: They’re cheap, and they’re hip. Tesla Energy, as the company’s new division is called, will sell batteries for the home for as little as $3,000, though the installed price may end up being double that. And the company did something that no one has been able to do — put batteries in a sleek package that lit up Twitter and Facebook and got regular people excited at the prospect of having a battery in the home.
Technological advances that have reduced prices and improved efficiency of renewable energy have helped transform the politics around climate change since 2009 when an attempt to forge a global deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions crashed in Copenhagen, the United Nations climate chief said Thursday. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said countries were ahead of schedule in negotiating a landmark global agreement on curbing greenhouse gases that can be adopted at a Paris summit in December.
Iowa could have a critical role in shaping the national conversation about climate change ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Al Gore said Tuesday in Cedar Rapids. “It’s hard to miss the importance of a state that is simultaneously the first contest in the presidential contest and the number one producer of wind electricity in the country with a fast-growing solar economy also,” Gore told The Des Moines Register. “You put those two things together and I think Iowa has a tremendous potential for pushing this onto the agenda of (presidential) candidates in both parties.”
A bill passed by the Legislature this week makes Hawaiʻi the first state in the nation to adopt a 100% Renewable Portfolio Standard. House Bill 623 mandates that Hawaiʻi utilities generate 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2045. The bill was introduced by Representative Chris Lee of Kailua in an effort to boost the state’s local energy industry and save ratepayers money.
Researchers have spent the last three years mapping the path migrating birds take from their winter homes to their summer breeding grounds as wind turbines spring up along the Atlantic Coast, posing a potential threat to avian travelers. Teams from Long Island to the Carolinas finished tagging surf scoters, a type of sea duck, and two other sea bird species last month and now are gathering data from tracking devices to chart their movement patterns.
Lawmakers on a New Jersey Senate committee have advanced legislation to create one of the nation’s most ambitious clean energy plans. On a 4-1 vote yesterday, lawmakers approved a bill to require New Jersey to receive at least 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. “This is probably the most important bill we have to help us deal with the impacts of climate change and moving our state forward when it comes to renewable energy,” Sierra Club New Jersey Director Jeff Tittel said.