Path cleared for Wyo.-to-Nev. line seen as spur to wind development 

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 4th, 2015

The Obama administration is close to granting final approval to a multi-state power line project that would allow wind-generated electricity in Wyoming to power homes and businesses from Las Vegas to San Diego, Calif., but that still has some environmentalists concerned about potential impacts to greater sage grouse. The TransWest Express line would carry as much as 3,000 megawatts of electricity — including wind-generated power from planned wind farms in Wyoming — from a substation in Sinclair, Wyo., in the south-central part of the state across portions of Colorado and Utah to a substation in southern Nevada, about 25 miles south of Las Vegas. Once placed into service in 2018, the project would have the capacity to transmit enough electricity to power about 1.8 million homes.

Wind industry issues bright forecast despite weak growth in early 2015 

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 4th, 2015

The 131 MW of new wind energy capacity reflects a 40 percent drop from the same period in 2014, when the industry added 217 MW, according the American Wind Energy Association, which released the sector’s latest quarterly report Wednesday. But AWEA downplayed the anemic Q1 numbers, which reflect the sector’s fourth smallest quarterly growth since 2008 (its three smallest quarters all occurred in 2013). Instead, AWEA said the sector has emerged from its recent downslide and is poised for huge capacity additions as more than 100 projects currently under construction come online later this year and into 2016 and 2017.

Murkowski hopes colleagues provide energy bill ideas this week 

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 4th, 2015

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is asking senators to have bills filed by the end of this week to be considered for inclusion in the bipartisan energy bill she would like to have out of committee by the summer. The call for ideas is designed to let the committee hold its remaining legislative hearings on the bill this month, begin marking up components of the bill after the Memorial Day recess, and have something out of committee before the August recess.

Tesla Moves Into Batteries That Store Energy for Homes, Businesses

Source: By REUTERS • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

Tesla Motors Inc on Thursday unveiled Tesla Energy – storage systems or batteries for homes, companies and utilities that will expand its business beyond electric vehicles and tap into a fast-growing area of the energy industry. Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company’s goal was to “fundamentally change the way the world uses energy on an extreme scale.” He introduced the products to a crowd of business partners and journalists at a Tesla facility near Los Angeles.

With New Factory, Tesla Ventures Into Solar Power Storage for Home and Business

Source: By DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

In recent years, the fast-growing popularity of solar panels has intensified a central challenge: how to use the sun’s energy when it isn’t shining. Now, Tesla Motors, the maker of luxury electric sedans, says it is taking a big step toward meeting that challenge with a fleet of battery systems aimed at homeowners, businesses and utilities. The company’s foray into the solar storage market will include rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs that can mount to a home garage wall as well as battery blocks large enough to smooth out fluctuations in the grid.

Climate change accelerates the spread of asthma 

Source: Brittany Patterson and Manon Verchot, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

“The changes we make to avert climate change not only have benefits for climate change, but they also have huge benefits on health,” Kaufman said. Kaufman’s statement echoes the ideas behind President Obama’s initiative to highlight connections between climate change and health announced earlier this month. The president even brought his own daughter Malia’s childhood battle with asthma to illustrate how combating global warming can directly affect those who have the respiratory disease.

NextEra says customers are clamoring for energy storage 

Source: Kristi E. Swartz, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

NextEra is getting “a steady request” from its customers about potential options to store wind and solar power with upcoming projects, the CEO of the company’s robust renewable energy power unit said yesterday. Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, said traditional and commercial customers are starting to ask about behind-the-meter storage as part of a new wind plan or utility-scale solar plan.

Okla. governor signs order in opposition to EPA carbon plan 

Source: Edward Klump, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) issued an executive order this week to prevent her state from submitting a plan to implement U.S. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Fallin, in a Tuesday news release, said her order was intended to show that “Oklahoma has no intention of implementing new regulations that run directly contrary to the interests of our citizens and our state.” She said efforts against “bad policy” would be fought in court.

Gov. Brown prepares state to cut greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030; oil industry vows a fight

Source:  Anne C. Mulkern and Debra Kahn, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

Climate change is a severe threat that transcends day-to-day political issues and must be tackled aggressively, California Gov. Jerry Brown said here yesterday as he promoted his executive order seeking a 40 percent cut in greenhouse gases by 2030. “There’s nothing as serious as the possibility of fundamentally and radically altering the conditions of human existence in a profoundly detrimental way,” the Democrat told people gathered at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference. “That’s the stakes. They couldn’t be bigger.” Brown yesterday morning ordered the cut in heat-trapping pollution to a target of 40 percent below 1990 levels within 15 years. That would put the state halfway to its goal of by 2050 getting carbon levels 80 percent below 1990’s point.

Wind power industry touts strong growth

Source: By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

The wind power industry says new turbines are bringing a near-record amount of power capacity to the United States. The American Wind Energy Association released a study Thursday reporting that 100 wind power projects with a generating capacity of 13,600 megawatts are under construction in 23 states during the first quarter of the year. Three states — Texas, Iowa and New York — completed new wind turbine projects with a generating capacity of 131 megawatts during the first three months of the year.