California’s $2.2B in cap-and-trade funds begins flowing, boosting rail, housing, clean cars

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 28th, 2015

California is starting to dole out nearly $2.2 billion generated by its cap-and-trade program to cut carbon emissions, allocating funds to hundreds of projects. Winners include regional rail, electric car rebates and rooftop solar for low-income residents. Revenue from auctions of pollution permits under the system has bolstered the state’s budget. A database compiled by ClimateWire shows for the first time precisely where funds have been directed. It reveals that more than $1.4 billion has been pledged to more than 350 recipients.

Integrating wind, solar into grid is ‘a solved problem,’ report claims

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 28th, 2015

A new report by a research firm argues that the challenge of integrating wind, solar and other renewables into the U.S. electric system is largely a “solved problem” that won’t be as expensive as critics argue. Synapse Energy Economics Inc. asserts that by maximizing coordination between regional electric system operators, taking advantage of renewable generation sites across a broader geographic scale, strategically investing in new transmission and seeking demand-side solutions, grid operators are well-equipped to handle more renewables. And, the report states, it’s likely that the cost of doing so is “relatively small, on the order of $5 per megawatt-hour.”

Offshore Wind Energy: GE Is Bringing This Good Thing to Life

Source: By Scott Levine, The Motley Fool • Posted: Friday, August 28th, 2015

Whereas the first offshore wind farm, located in Denmark, began operations in 1991, it has taken nearly 25 years for the United States to begin construction on its first offshore wind farm. It has taken a long time for the U.S. to catch up, but Alstom and GE are making it happen. GE already has a dominating presence in the U.S. onshore market, and, through its acquisition of Alstom, stands to prosper from the offshore market should it take off.

Nev. regulators extend net metering in win for Reid

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 28th, 2015

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada voted 3-0 yesterday to approve a measure requiring NV Energy to provide the same net metering rates and credits for rooftop solar customers throughout the rest of the year. The agency’s decision was seen as a reprieve for Silver State solar advocates concerned about rate treatments disintegrating after the state hit its limit on the number of customers allowed to participate in the program, and the state’s largest utility, NV Energy, proposed changes that would reduce the value of the credits.

Colo. governor doesn’t see benefit of joining lawsuit

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 28th, 2015

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) today asserted that Colorado will be able to easily meet lower carbon emissions dictated by the Obama administration, and said he did not see the benefit of the state opting into a lawsuit that aims to block the Clean Power Plan. Hickenlooper made his remarks in an appearance at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual Rocky Mountain Energy Summit. “I don’t think we’re going to have a heavy lift to meet those rules,” Hickenlooper said in a brief speech in which he focused on Colorado’s current energy economy — acknowledging a downturn in oil prices while asserting that “these down-cycles always drive innovation” — and briefly touched on the Clean Power Plan.

White House amplifies feud with Koch brothers

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 28th, 2015

“It’s why he ran for this office — is that for too long we saw the oil and gas industry exert significant pressure on politicians in Washington, D.C.,” Earnest said from the West Wing. “And that did have an impact on the ability of the federal government to make smart policy decisions in terms of offering preferences to oil and gas companies and not making the kinds of investments that we know we should be making in renewable and clean energy. And that’s — I guess to borrow a phrase — that’s change you believe in.”

Wind Power Wins Big Under the Clean Power Plan

Source: By Ben Paulos, Greentech Media • Posted: Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Many prognostications have been made about the impact of EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the rules to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants, issued on August 3. Despite what you may have heard, EPA doesn’t dictate any particular outcomes, instead deferring to states to develop implementation plans, and those plans aren’t due until 2018. Still, modeling and recent trends point to one big winner: wind power.

Calif. national lab joins energy storage cluster

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 27th, 2015

The national security-focused Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is the latest institution to agree to help the California energy storage industry conduct research. The Energy Department’s LLNL will sign an agreement with the industry trade group CalCharge to make it easier for the group’s members to work with federal scientists, lab officials said yesterday.

North Dakota plans more wind power capacity

Source: By Daniel J. Graeber, UPI • Posted: Thursday, August 27th, 2015

In parallel with the White House, North Dakota said it was planning to connect a 43-turbine wind farm to the grid as part of an “all of the above” strategy. North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley was on hand for a ceremony to celebrate the upcoming completion of the Thunder Spirit wind farm, a 43-turbine wind farm with a maximum capacity of 107 megawatts of power. “The completion of the Thunder Spirit wind farm marks another important milestone in North Dakota’s ‘all of the above’ energy production journey,” Wrigley said in a statement.

Clinton offers rural proposals in Iowa

Source: By Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, August 27th, 2015

“Iowans are in the future business,” Clinton told about 200 people in a hall at the Des Moines Area Community College. “Just look at the way you have seized opportunities from wind energy to biofuels.” Clinton pledges to invest in rural business and infrastructure by expanding tax credits and grants. Money to help farmers starting out and to promote farmers markets and local foods would double under her plan. Clinton’s campaign did not say how much her proposals would cost or how she would pay for them.