An area in the windy waters off Long Island has been designated as a possible site for a wind farm, the federal government announced on Wednesday. New Yorkers will not be seeing offshore turbines anytime soon, however. The Interior Department and its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said they were moving toward auctioning a lease for the site, about 11 nautical miles off the coast of Long Beach and stretching about 26 nautical miles to the southeast.
Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland isn’t a guaranteed vote for the Obama administration’s signature climate rule, but he’d be a lot more likely to uphold the rule than the late Justice Antonin Scalia. That’s the consensus from legal experts today as they probe Garland’s record for clues about how he might deal with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan and other big environmental issues if he’s confirmed to the high court.
Rooftop solar is casting a $2 billion shadow over power generators across the eastern U.S. With more than a million U.S. houses set to have solar panels by the end of next month, grid managers serving the eastern U.S. plan to cut the amount of electricity they buy from conventional plants by about 1,400 megawatts, starting in 2019, according to industry consultant ICF International Inc. That’s enough juice to power about 780,000 households.
Nevada’s home solar business is in turmoil as the state’s Public Utilities Commission starts to phase out incentives for homeowners who install rooftop solar panels. Some of the largest solar companies have stopped seeking new business in the state and laid off hundreds of workers. Even for small solar installers, this once-booming business has slowed to a trickle. The warehouse at Robco Electric in Las Vegas was filled to capacity with pallets of solar panels stacked high last year. Now, it’s nearly empty.
Democrats are urging House appropriators to support the president’s budget request for renewable power and efficiency to ensure an “all of the above” energy strategy. In a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, 122 House members urged support for the $2.898 billion request for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which is more than $800 million above last year’s level.
A San Diego-based alternative energy company has proposed building a $200 million wind farm in rural Plymouth County. County Zoning Administrator Alan Lucken says EDF Renewable Energy is interested in building the project between Le Mars and Kingsley. Company officials will meet with rural landowners this week to discuss the construction of about 100 windmills. The company didn’t return phone calls from the Sioux City Journal Monday.
During a briefing on Capitol Hill this morning, presidential climate adviser Dan Utech said renewable energy was at a “turning point.” He said the administration would continue pushing for cleaner energy and action against global warming “with everything we’ve got.” Utech said tax credits that Congress extended last year would make it easier for states to rely on solar and other renewables to comply with the Clean Power Plan, if the courts don’t strike it down. Without the credits, switching from coal to gas would be more attractive.
“We heard from many corners that now is not the time to offer oil and gas leasing off the Atlantic Coast,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said. “When you factor in conflicts with national defense, economic activities such as fishing and tourism, and opposition from many local communities, it simply doesn’t make sense to move forward with any lease sales in the coming five years.”
Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the GMO legislation would likely take up much of the week. That would likely delay any action on the energy bill, S. 2012, and the Flint package until after next week’s recess.
For too long, our energy policies have benefitted the entrenched interests of big oil, gas and coal companies over clean energy industries like wind and solar. The tax subsidies for these fossil fuel industries are permanent pieces of the tax code that never expire. Meanwhile, the government spending bill that became law last December will begin phasing down the tax credits for wind power in 10 months. By the end of 2019 they will be completely gone. And the tax credits for solar will phase out by the end of 2021.