Policy Advisers Urge Trump to Keep U.S. in Paris Accord

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Mr. Trump plans to make a final decision on the fate of the Paris agreement before a meeting of the Group of 7 leading economies at the end of May, according to Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary. A team of Mr. Trump’s principal advisers was scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon at the White House to discuss the decision with the aim of recommending a path forward, but the meeting was canceled after some of the planned attendees flew with Mr. Trump to an event in Wisconsin, according to a White House spokeswoman.

White House showdown on Paris deal set for next week

Source: By Josh Dawsey, Politico • Posted: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

President Donald Trump’s most senior advisers will huddle next week to resolve long-simmering tensions over whether the United States should stay in the Paris climate change agreement, a major point of dispute between the moderate and nationalist wings of the White House, three administration officials told POLITICO. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, senior adviser Jared Kushner and chief strategist Steve Bannon are expected to be at the table. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, but sources cautioned that the timing and number of attendees is still in flux.

Saudis Target 30 Solar, Wind Projects in $50 Billion Pledge

Source: By Wael Mahdi, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Saudi Arabia will develop 30 solar and wind projects over the next 10 years as part of the kingdom’s $50 billion program to boost power generation and cut its oil consumption. The world’s biggest exporter of crude oil will produce 10 percent of its power from renewables by 2023, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Monday at a conference in Riyadh. It also plans to generate an unspecified amount of electricity from nuclear plants.

Edison, GE unveil new battery systems at California gas plants

Source: By Nichola Groom, Reuters • Posted: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

A major California utility and General Electric Co on Monday unveiled a first-of-its-kind battery storage system that will enable instant power output from a natural gas peaking plant to accommodate the state’s changing electricity needs while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. The system, which was installed at two separate Southern California Edison “peaker” plants this month, will give the utility increased flexibility as the large amounts of renewable wind and solar power required by state mandates have made energy generation cleaner but far less predictable.

How Wall Street Once Killed the U.S. Solar Industry… and how it could happen again.

Source: By Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic • Posted: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Why is the American solar-power industry so small? It’s less obvious than it may seem. The global industry is a $65-billion business, and the United States has been involved in it from the beginning. NASA first improved and perfected panels for early satellite and Apollo missions. American firms have been manufacturing and selling solar panels for 40 years. Yet North American firms produce only about 3 percent of the world’s solar panels. China and Taiwan, meanwhile, make more than 60 percent of them.

EPA emerges as major target after Trump solicits policy advice from industry

Source: By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Just days after taking office, President Trump invited American manufacturers to recommend ways the government could cut regulations and make it easier for companies to get their projects approved. Industry leaders responded with scores of suggestions that paint the clearest picture yet of the dramatic steps that Trump officials are likely to take in overhauling federal policies, especially those designed to advance environmental protection and safeguard worker rights.

Rick Perry Wants to Know if Wind and Solar Are Killing Coal

Source: By Julian Spector, Greentech Media • Posted: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Energy Secretary Rick Perry spelled out these concerns Friday in a memo to his chief of staff, which was rapidly obtained by Bloomberg News. The memo calls for a 60-day study on whether efforts to promote clean energy — like renewable portfolio standards, tax credits and other subsidies — “are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.” Modeling the future reliability of a grid with higher penetrations of renewable generation is nothing new for the DOE, as GTM readers well know. Scientists there have been grappling with the ramifications of wind and solar energy for years. Perry’s word choices, though, suggest this study has a different aim.

Agency to study harm from renewables on the grid

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

The Department of Energy is beginning a study of the impacts of renewable energy on the nation’s electrical grid. The 60-day assessment, launched Friday and first reported by Bloomberg, is looking at how energy policies may be accelerating the decline of baseload coal and nuclear power plants, a prospect that may hamper grid reliability.

Oklahoma to End Tax Credit That Propelled Wind Production

Source: BY TIM TALLEY, The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

A state tax credit that helped propel Oklahoma to third in the nation in its capacity to generate electricity from wind is coming to an end, but it will be years before state coffers see results of the change. Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed legislation that rolls back a 10-year tax credit for electricity generated by zero-emission facilities that was launched in 2003.

Coal, once king in Texas, sees wind as ‘real competition’

Source: Benjamin Storrow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, April 17th, 2017

During a visit yesterday to the Harvey mine in Sycamore, Pa., U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared that “the war on coal is done.” But if the regulatory battle is over, the fight in coal’s largest domestic market has just begun. Wind generation accounted for nearly 23 percent of power generation for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in the first quarter of 2017, the Lone Star State grid operator said this week.