Billionaire U.S. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump took his long battle against windfarms near his Scottish golf course to the UK Supreme Court on Thursday. The property mogul – who says plans for 11 offshore turbines will spoil the view from his greens – has lost a series of battles in lower courts, and has vowed to go on to the European Court of Justice if he fails again in London. “Mr Trump does not want a wind farm 1 km (0.6 mile) away from his golf course,” Trump’s lawyer John Campbell said.
Democrats yesterday afternoon blocked the Republican majority’s latest attempt to move forward with consideration of spending bills under disputed budget caps. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin was the only Democrat to vote “yes” on a motion to proceed on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s energy and water spending bill. He recently expressed interest in debating fossil fuel technology spending. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, accused Democrats of violating regular order and silencing lawmakers on the legislation.
This year’s eighth annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference and Exhibition being held at the Omaha Hilton in Omaha, NE, November 4-5, will feature some exciting new speakers, and the return of a conference attendee favorite, Lauren Thirer with GE Renewables. A Consumer Energy Showcase, open to the public, will be held the evening of Tuesday, November 3.
Sen. James Lankford introduced legislation today aimed at phasing out tax incentives for renewable energy. Lankford’s (R-Okla.) bill would phase out all incentives for clean energy by 2026, including the production tax credit, or PTC, for wind power. Congress allowed the PTC to expire at the end of last year after approving a one-year retroactive extension that covered 2014. In July, the Senate Finance Committee included the provision in a broad tax extenders package that passed on a 23-3 vote.
The White House issued a veto threat on Wednesday for a U.S. House of Representatives bill that would lift a four-decade-old ban on crude oil exports, saying the legislation was “not needed at this time.” Congress should instead end “the billions of dollars a year in federal subsidies provided to oil companies” and invest in wind, solar and other renewable energy projects, the White House said in a statement about the bill, which is expected to face a vote in the full House on Friday.
In a finding that should resonate across global energy markets, Bloomberg New Energy Finance revealed this week that wind energy has achieved cost parity with fossil fuel power in two key European markets, while solar continues to close the energy price gap across many parts of the world. BNEF, updating its levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) figures for the second half of 2015, found that the cost of onshore wind power fell globally from $85 to $82 per megawatt-hour for the second half of the year, while costs for solar photovoltaics fell from $129 to $122 per MWh.
“The California example and the California strategy is being adopted, and people are joining with us,” he said. “This is global in its scope. This is not easy stuff. We are here because of oil, oil and gas, and, to a lesser extent, coal. “That is the prosperity. That’s how we got here. Everything we’ve got has it,” he added. “What has been the source of our prosperity now has become the source of our ultimate destruction if we don’t get off of it.” The measure from state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D) that became law, however, is a smaller version of a vision Brown put forward at the start of the year. Along with the electricity and efficiency mandates, he had sought to cut in half petroleum use by 2030.
Gov. Jerry Brown dramatically increased California’s climate-change goals, committing the state to use renewable energy for half its electricity and make existing buildings twice as energy-efficient in just 15 years. Brown tried for an even stronger measure that also would have enforced a 50 percent drop in petroleum use by 2030, but was defeated by oil interests. He called that a short-term setback, and insisted that the world needs to wean itself off fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
Philip Moeller, a Republican member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, announced today that he plans to leave the agency at the end of the month. Moeller in a statement posted to the agency’s website said he had thanked Presidents Obama and George W. Bush for nominating him as a commissioner and that he plans to pursue “other opportunities” in the energy field.
Wind power is now comparable in price to fossil fuels, and solar is well on its way, according to a new report that confirms earlier predictions that renewables aren’t just the best option for the environment – they’re unequivocally the smartest long-term investment you can make on energy. The report, by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, found that in the second half of 2015, the global average cost of onshore wind energy will be $83 per megawatt-hour of electricity (which is down $2 from the first half of the year), and for thin film solar photovoltaics, the cost is $122 per megawatt-hour (down $7 in the past six months).