Officials say those wind and hydro resources will be critical to complying with the Clean Power Plan, which requires Minnesota to achieve a nearly 42 percent rate reduction in power-sector carbon emissions by 2030. “Without our link to the north, I think we’d have a very different recipe for getting there,” David McMillan, Minnesota Power’s executive vice president, said of the utility’s compliance strategy. “There are very few resources like this that can produce energy around the clock, 12 months of the year, and do so in an entirely emissions-free manner.”
Renewable energy like solar and wind is booming across the country as the costs of production have come down. But the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t blow when we need it to. This challenge has sparked a technology race to store energy — one that goes beyond your typical battery.
If the United States is going to get serious about cutting carbon emissions from oil and gas, it will have to find ways to scale up its use of renewable energy. Converting wind and solar power into electricity is, in some ways, the easy part. The bigger challenge is developing the infrastructure to transmit that electricity across the country. In the case of wind, most of that power is generated far from the urban centers that would use it. Transmission would require a new nationwide system of power lines reaching from the windiest parts of the country. Such a system could also allow power suppliers the flexibility to shift supply depending on variations in weather.
Senate Democrats are pushing to extend a key renewable tax break for a number of power sources in legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration that is slated to receive a vote later this week. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) yesterday filed cloture on a House-passed tax measure, H.R. 636, that will be the vehicle for the FAA bill, with the procedural vote expected tomorrow. Meanwhile, Michigan Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters last night signaled that there had been no progress on finding a compromise to allow votes on the Senate’s energy bill and a package to provide assistance to residents of Flint, Mich., to cope with the city’s drinking water crisis.
If Congress hopes to pass an energy bill this year, its best hope may be in a post-election lame-duck session, but both chambers would need to pass their own versions first. The House passed its own narrower version late last year.
“Fossil fuel companies that deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change should be held accountable,” Healey said yesterday morning in Manhattan at a meeting of state attorneys general about climate change. “We can all see today the troubling disconnect between what Exxon knew and what the company shared with the public regarding the consequences of burning the fuel it markets,” she said. “That’s why we have joined in investigating Exxon Mobil.”
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) lashed out at climate regulations following an announcement Thursday that two major Powder River Basin coal companies are laying off hundreds of workers. “If they were truly concerned about global warming, if they are truly concerned about issues like regional haze, this is not the way to go about addressing those problems,” Mead said during a press conference yesterday evening, referring to federal regulators.
It generates more revenue than Apple Inc. and Boeing Co. combined and serves one in seven people on the planet. Meet State Grid Corp. of China, a company that may be buying power assets near you. While State Grid is hardly a household name, its geographic footprint extends from South America to Australia, where it’s a contender to acquire a stake in Sydney-based power network Ausgrid. Hungry to grow outside China, the company plans to develop a $50 trillion global energy network that could enable electricity to be transmitted beyond continental boundaries.
President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China said Thursday that they would sign the Paris Agreement on climate change on April 22, the first day the United Nations accord will be open for government signatures. Officials cast the announcement as a statement of joint resolve by the world’s two largest greenhouse gas polluters, even though there are doubts about whether the United States can meet its obligations under the agreement.
More than a decade after the birth of the modern renewable energy industry, solar and wind await their John D. Rockefeller
Clean power remains a tumultuous and fragmented business, crowded with companies grabbing for slices of an emerging market that aspires to reshape how the world meets its energy needs. They rise and fall as technology advances and demand seesaws. Some have grown into sprawling regional players, often propped up by government subsidies. A few, like Suntech Power Holdings Co. and Q-Cells SE, soared to prominence, then all but flickered out. Yet there are still no companies that dominate the industry.