While comprehensive tax reform has been on Congress’ back burner for most of the year, a Senate hearing this week could shed some additional light on what an eventual overhaul of the tax code would mean for oil companies, renewable energy developers and others in the energy industry.
Green energy programs have expanded in blue states as well as deeply conservative ones like Texas and Mississippi in recent years, according to a study released yesterday by Stanford University and the Hoover Institution. “Many states, from all parts of the country and from all political perspectives, are taking steps to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy,” the report said. “Put simply, both red states and blue states are turning green, whether measured in dollar-savings or environmental benefit,” it added.
A state energy board gave conditional approval Friday to a $140 million wind farm that would rise south of Blue Hill in south-central Nebraska.
Financed by NextEra Energy Resources, the nation’s largest wind developer, the project would produce about $800,000 a year in lease payments to 35 landowners and about $864,000 a year in local taxes. That would represent a 7 percent increase in overall tax revenue for Webster County, according to David Levy, an Omaha attorney who represents Florida-based NextEra.
Of all the developed nations, few have pushed harder than Germany to find a solution to global warming. And towering symbols of that drive are appearing in the middle of the North Sea. They are wind turbines, standing as far as 60 miles from the mainland, stretching as high as 60-story buildings and costing up to $30 million apiece. On some of these giant machines, a single blade roughly equals the wingspan of the largest airliner in the sky, the Airbus A380. By year’s end, scores of new turbines will be sending low-emission electricity to German cities hundreds of miles to the south.
Google Inc., the Internet technology giant and green energy investor, will provide $145 million in equity funding to help construct one of the world’s largest brownfield-to-renewable energy sites. The 82-megawatt Regulus solar project in Kern County, Calif., will cover a 737-acre former oil and gas field with nearly a quarter-million solar photovoltaic modules, whose electricity output will be sufficient to power roughly 10,000 California homes.
Some states throughout the U.S. have implemented various policies to encourage renewables and energy efficiency that could be adopted by neighboring states to improve local economies, provide energy security and reduce emissions, according to a new study. In addition, the report says these innovative policies could be particularly valuable as states develop plans to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) pending rules to cut power plant emissions. One effective clean energy policy, the study points out, is a renewable portfolio standard (RPS).
A bipartisan group of senators today asked U.S. EPA to give the public more time to comment on its existing power plant greenhouse gas draft rule, citing its complexity and potential to overhaul the U.S. power grid. The letter, spearheaded by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), asked EPA to extend its Oct. 16 deadline by 60 days.
A Montana legislative committee has agreed to maintain an existing renewable energy standard. The move will require the state’s utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by next year.
The hearing, which featured testimony from state agency heads and public utility commissioners, focused primarily on states’ concerns over technical aspects and the overall feasibility of the Clean Power Plan (Greenwire, Sept. 9). But it also gave Democratic and Republican lawmakers a forum to place the issue in line with their parties’ platforms — for Democrats as an important environmental safeguard, and for Republicans as a burdensome piece of federal overreach.
Harvesting homegrown wind power improves our energy security and reliability by diversifying our energy mix and keeping energy costs low for consumers. For Americans to continue reaping these benefits, however, Congress must extend the renewable Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit as soon as possible. That will provide wind power with the critical policy stability Congress has provided to other energy sources for the last 100 years.