Building infrastructure to sell wind energy could cost $4 billion, Nebraska power board says

Source: By Russell Hubbard / World-Herald staff writer • Posted: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

The analysis also found that the market for wind power in the Midwest is already saturated with suppliers; neighboring Iowa gets 27 percent of its power from wind, mostly from MidAmerican Energy, the utility owned by Omaha’s Berkshire Hathaway. Also among the findings are that Nebraska offers lower financial incentives than other states and that the state suffers from “the perception of a more burdensome permitting and regulatory process.”

Senate has end of 113th in sight

Source: By Alexander Bolton, The • Posted: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

he Senate will vote Tuesday to clear two of President Obama’s more controversial nominees, clearing a major hurdle to finishing the 113th Congress this week. Senators will vote to end debate and confirm Sarah Saldaña, Obama’s nominee to head Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and Tony Blinken, the choice to serve as Deputy Secretary of State. Once they are out of the way, Senate aides expect an agreement to confirm Obama’s other pending nominees by midweek. That would speed up final votes on a package extending a variety of lapsed tax breaks and on the stalled Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

Lawyers gird for fight against EPA’s Clean Power Plan based on states’ rights 

Source: Emily Holden and Rod Kuckro, E&E reporters • Posted: Sunday, December 14th, 2014

On one side of the dispute, supporters say EPA carefully constructed the rule with a strong legal foundation, taking into consideration years of precedents affirming the agency’s right to regulate greenhouse gases. They say the standards for cutting emissions, or building blocks suggested by EPA, are based on proven methods that the energy industry itself has pursued around the country. On the other side, critics say the scope of the rule is unprecedented and the federal agency is violating states’ rights by issuing goals that can’t be met without employing “beyond-the-source” methods, like renewable power and energy efficiency programs. They say EPA doesn’t have jurisdiction to compel states to comply with the required cuts because it would have to base them on programs that are explicitly the business of state governments.

Study: Nebraska has capacity to export more wind energy

Source: By ALGIS J. LAUKAITIS / Lincoln Journal Star • Posted: Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Nebraska has the capacity to build and export more renewable energy generated by wind farms than it does now, according to a study that will be released by the Nebraska Power Review Board Monday. The Nebraska Renewable Energy Export Study, mandated by the passage of LB1115 this past legislative session, said there is significant growth potential for renewable electricity generation in the state, both short- and long-term.

Can a state fill a budget gap with a price on carbon? Wash. may soon know 

Source: Scott Detrow, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, December 14th, 2014

On Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will unveil a new plan to lower his state’s greenhouse gas emissions. And while the Democrat hasn’t tipped his hand on whether he’ll push for a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax, Inslee and his administration have dropped several hints about how they’ll likely frame the carbon pricing plan as a way to help solve the state’s budget deficit. In an era where states have legalized everything from gambling to recreational marijuana as a way to raise budget revenue, Washington’s upcoming carbon fight may provide a road map for how state legislatures choose to comply with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Specifically, whether lawmakers otherwise hostile to the idea of lowering greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy costs may embrace cap-and-trade systems or carbon taxes as a way to fix budget holes or restructure their tax codes.

Op-Ed: A Pacific Coast model for addressing climate change

Source: By EDMUND G. BROWN JR., CHRISTY CLARK, JAY INSLEE AND JOHN KITZHABER, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Our agreement, which established the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, represents a regionwide commitment to air quality, clean fuels, carbon pricing, and clean-energy jobs. But it also respects that we have different approaches to reaching our shared goals. California’s carbon pricing program uses an economywide cap-and-trade system, while British Columbia has a revenue-neutral carbon tax program. Oregon is building on existing programs to set a price on carbon emissions. Washington is developing a carbon market program, including consultations with stakeholders.

Inside Congress’s $42B tax-break package

Source: By Bernie Becker, The • Posted: Sunday, December 14th, 2014

While there are plenty of narrowly-tailored incentives that critics call corporate pork, there are also broader preferences for both businesses and working families. The preferences most derided as corporate pork are often just a small percentage of the overall cost of the tax package. Here’s a partial list of some of the 50-plus tax breaks Congress is passing for this year, at a cost of some $42 billion.

Senate passes $1.1T funding bill

Source: By Rebecca Shabad and Alexander Bolton, The • Posted: Sunday, December 14th, 2014

The Senate voted 56-40 late Saturday evening to pass a $1.1 trillion spending package that funds most of the government through next September. The vote culminates a week of acrimonious sniping and sends the spending bill to President Obama’s desk for a signature.

More investors flock to climate-safe equities 

Source: Benjamin Hulac, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, December 12th, 2014

Wall Street traders may jump into and out of any stock to pursue quick profits, but long-term investing predicated on environmental, social and corporate governance concerns is becoming increasingly common, according to a new report from the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, or U.S. SIF. Known collectively by the abbreviations ESG or SRI investing — meaning sustainable, responsible and impacting investing — this strategy has ramped up significantly between 2012 and 2014, with $6.57 trillion of U.S.-domiciled assets at the start of the year now managed using the special criteria.

We’re still on a course leading to tragedy,’ Kerry tells U.N. delegates 

Source: Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, December 12th, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry today addressed a crowded room of dignitaries, environmental activists and bleary-eyed negotiators gathered in this city to hash out a new international climate change deal and called for urgent action to avoid the most destructive impacts of rising temperatures. Kerry touted to the international community a landmark climate deal with China as well as the Obama administration’s power plant rules and the United States’ newest target for cutting carbon 26 to 28 percent by 2025. America, he argued, is now leading the global response to climate change, wants to see an ambitious international agreement signed in Paris next year, and is counting on governments to rise above a decadeslong battle over who should take responsibility.