Massive wind power transmission line gains Illinois approval

Source: By Tony Reid, The Daily Pantagraph • Posted: Monday, November 16th, 2015

The line, used to access wind power harnessed in Kansas, has generated strong opinions. Sentiment at public meetings in the region has often been hostile, especially from affected landowners. But business, labor unions and consumer advocacy groups have come out strongly in favor of the project, billed as funneling $700 million of investment into Illinois and creating 1,500 jobs.

Ill. regulators approve Grain Belt Express project

Source: Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, November 16th, 2015

The commissioners said Houston-based Clean Line, a merchant transmission developer, didn’t qualify as a public utility at the time it submitted its application in April and shouldn’t have been allowed to use the faster approval process. However, del Valle in particular noted support of Clean Line’s goal to move wind energy from remote southwest Kansas to population centers farther east in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Climate change will continue to be a significant issue that will affect all of us,” del Valle said. “I fully support the goal of building infrastructure of moving renewable generation from sparsely populated areas which are rich in wind resources to areas with larger loads and higher prices.”

Coal Not Going Away Anytime Soon Despite Renewables Push

Source: BY LOUISE WATT, ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Monday, November 16th, 2015

Coal: Can’t live with it and can’t live without it — at least not yet. It is the biggest source of heat-trapping greenhouse gases that negotiators around the world hope to limit in an agreement to be thrashed out in Paris next month. Demand for coal is leveling off, but it will remain a key energy source for decades, no matter how many billions of dollars of investment go into cleaner energy like wind and solar. Too much of the world depends on it now for heating and power generation for us to suddenly live without it.

Energy secretary: ‘All of the above’ includes reducing emissions

Source: By Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Monday, November 16th, 2015

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Friday that the Obama administration’s “all of the above” approach to energy sources means it seeks to reduce carbon dioxide from the energy sector.
Moniz sought to clarify the “all of the above” policy, saying that while certain energy sources such as wind and solar have no carbon emissions, the administration is truly committed to all forms of energy, including fossil fuels. “We say ‘all of the above,’ but let me be very clear: ‘all of the above’ starts out with a commitment to low carbon,” Moniz said Friday at a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace event.

France to Push on With Climate Summit After Paris Attacks

Source: By Reed Landberg and Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg News • Posted: Monday, November 16th, 2015

The French government vowed to push on with the United Nations Climate summit in Paris this month and will boost security for the more than 120 world leaders traveling to a city reeling from a deadly terrorist attack. “It will go ahead with reinforced security measures,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in Vienna on Saturday, a day after gunmen killed at least 129 people in the French capital. “This is an absolutely necessary step in the battle against climate change and of course it will take place.”

Coal’s Cruel Fortune: Its Biggest Market Is Also the Windiest

Source: By Mario Parker and Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg News • Posted: Friday, November 13th, 2015

Here’s how bad U.S. coal has it these days: The region that has for years burned the most coal also happens to be the windiest. The Great Plains states that run south from Canada to Texas, tucked between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River, are increasingly turning to cheap wind power to generate electricity. It’s a shift that’s eating into coal’s dwindling share of America’s power plant pie.

EPA confirms wind, solar only renewables to receive early credit

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 13th, 2015

U.S. EPA is throwing cold water on hopes that renewables other than wind and solar might qualify for an incentive program designed to reward emissions reductions made before the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan takes effect. In an informational call Tuesday, Tina Ndoh of EPA’s office of Air Quality Planning and Standards shut down a suggestion that the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) could be used to give credits for hydropower, geothermal or other forms of clean power.

Republicans seek FERC review of Carter-era renewables law

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 13th, 2015

Congressional Republicans called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to explore whether changes are needed to improve a law crafted in the Carter administration to boost renewables and efficiency. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan, and Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power Chairman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky asked FERC to review its use of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, or PURPA. The letter to FERC Chairman Norman Bay reflects concerns with the law that Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE) raised earlier this year as the Senate and House were crafting comprehensive energy legislation.

Utilities plan a surge of solar, wind in Southeast

Source: Kristi E. Swartz, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 13th, 2015

The Southeast’s three major investor-owned utilities have big plans to ramp up their renewable energy portfolios across the United States in the near future, citing falling costs and rising demand because of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Duke Energy Corp., NextEra Energy Inc. and Southern Co. each recently told analysts that opportunities to add more wind and solar projects have exceeded their expectations. All three companies plan to invest billions into expanding solar arrays and wind farms, either by buying or building them, despite the possibility of eventual changes in some of the federal tax incentives.

BLM advances federal portion of massive Calif. desert plan

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 13th, 2015

The Obama administration yesterday advanced the federal portion of a major plan designed to guide commercial-scale wind, solar and geothermal power development across millions of acres of Southern California desert. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced completion of a final environmental impact statement (EIS) and three proposed land-use plan amendments covering about 10 million acres of federal lands as part of the first phase of implementation of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP).