Grid-scale battery storage solutions have arrived in Europe, despite a lingering controversy. No longer a distant dream, projects in Germany are already feeding energy into the grid, while in the United Kingdom and Italy, commercial projects are close to coming online. Yet their breakthrough potential — for the quick balancing of intermittent renewables and eventual replacement of fossil power plants — has not been fully tested. Grid-level energy storage remains a new frontier, and among a host of modern storage options, batteries are still sometimes tagged as too costly and unproven in real-world environments.
Developers and industry experts say the offshore wind energy sector is off to such a slow start in the U.S. because of regulatory hurdles, opposition from fossil fuel interests and the trials and tribulations of doing something for the first time. While they’ve tempered their expectations that offshore wind energy will come to the U.S. in a big way anytime soon, many are hoping Deepwater Wind’s wind farm will pave the way for other projects. There are 11 offshore wind projects in various stages of development in 10 states, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Deepwater Wind is the farthest along.
The relationship will be key as Murkowski tries to take some of the recommendations from the QER and turn them into the first bipartisan, comprehensive energy bill to be signed into law since President Obama’s days in the Senate. Following yesterday’s hearing, Murkowski said she hoped Moniz and his staff would follow up on the 347-page QER with more specific legislative language that could be incorporated into an eventual bill. “The secretary is a guy who’s not just focused on sending a message,” she added. “I think he likes to get things done.”
The race for renewable energy has passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And there’s no going back.The shift occurred in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 gigawatts in new plants that burn fossil fuels.
More than a dozen states Friday said recent remarks from U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy show the agency has already made up its mind about its proposed greenhouse gas standards for existing power plants and reiterated their call for a federal court to block EPA from promulgating the rules. The states, led by West Virginia, are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to issue an “extraordinary writ” prohibiting EPA from finalizing the rules this summer.
U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan will be front and center as state air pollution agency chiefs gather in Providence, R.I., until Wednesday for their spring meeting. EPA air chief Janet McCabe and a contingency of deputies and regional administrators will be on hand to discuss the nuts and bolts of potential compliance strategies for cutting power plant carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030 under the agency’s proposed rule.
MONIZ HAS HIGH HOPES: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Monday that he hopes President Obama and the GOP-controlled Congress can come to terms on a whole slate of issues before Obama’s term expires. Moniz hopes to find Republican cooperation on government funding for infrastructure when he takes the administration’s case to lawmakers on Tuesday, as well as climate change and Iran, where he’s been a member of the team negotiating a nuclear deal.
“I’m sympathetic to the argument that the tax code has gotten too cluttered with too many special-interest provisions. That’s the reason many of us have been clamoring for tax reform. But just because we haven’t cleaned up the tax code in a comprehensive way does not mean that we should pull the rug out from under domestic renewable energy producers,” Grassley said at a policy forum hosted by the American Council on Renewable Energy in Washington, D.C. “Businesses need certainty in the tax code so that they can plan and invest,” he added. “The only sound way to reach this goal is through a comprehensive tax approach. Targeting certain provisions for elimination outside of tax reform makes no sense.”
Today, April 28, there will be a Webcast of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing to receive testimony by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the Administration’s Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. ET in room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Construction is officially underway for the first offshore wind farm in U.S. waters. Offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind on Friday announced that its CEO, Jeffrey Grybowski, is meeting with Rhode Island leaders today in North Kingstown to celebrate early building activities on the Block Island Wind Farm, a planned 30-megawatt, five-turbine project located approximately 3 miles southeast of Rhode Island’s Block Island.