Global group of Catholic bishops call for end to fossil fuels

Source: By Matt McGrath, BBC News • Posted: Friday, December 12th, 2014

Catholic bishops from around the world are calling for an end to fossil fuel use and increased efforts to secure a global climate treaty. Catholics, they say, should engage with the process leading to a proposed new deal to be signed in Paris next year. The statement is the first time that senior church figures from every continent have issued such a call.

DOE updates resource maps to reflect advances in turbine technology 

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, December 12th, 2014

The Department of Energy has drawn new maps of the country’s wind power capacity to keep up with advances in turbine technology. Updated maps released today show how taller wind turbines with higher nacelles and longer blades can harness significant amounts of wind power in areas where shorter turbines would be still.

Senate to consider $1.1T package today

Source: By Alexander Bolton, The • Posted: Friday, December 12th, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says the Senate on Friday will consider the $1.1 trillion government-funding bill approved by the House. The Senate voted Thursday night on a two-day stop-gap funding measure to keep the government operating beyond midnight. The leader also wants to pass a defense authorization bill, a package of tax extenders, a terrorism insurance bill and confirm a group of nominees before wrapping up the 113th Congress.

Belgian energy island may get go ahead in early 2015: ministry

Source: by Robert-Jan Bartunek, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Belgium will decide early next year whether to build a ring-shaped island off its coast to store wind energy, in one of the world’s first attempts to make the renewable source available on demand, the government said. Wind energy is often abundant in the large wind parks off the Belgian coast, but storing it for when there is little wind is an issue, along with not wasting it when there is a surplus. Using an idea borrowed from hydroelectric dams, the island would be emptied of water when there is a lot of wind, using energy from windmills. When there is an energy shortfall, a lock would be opened to let the sea water back in and at the same time power turbines and generate electricity.

FERC sets regional conferences on climate rule’s reliability impacts 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Federal grid overseers today announced they will hold four technical conferences to delve into implementation and reliability concerns tied to U.S. EPA’s proposal to cut carbon emissions — a move that was quickly celebrated as a win by Republican lawmakers and regulators. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said it will convene the first meeting, the national overview technical conference, at its Washington, D.C., headquarters starting Feb. 19 to examine whether state regulators have the right tools to detect reliability or market issues and strategies for complying with EPA rules while coordinating with the markets that FERC oversees.

Senate Dems call on EPA to strengthen power plant rule 

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 11th, 2014

A group of Senate Democrats today called on U.S. EPA to strengthen its proposed power plant rule to achieve a greater reduction in carbon emissions. In a letter to the agency, the group said the rule is “the single most significant step this country has ever taken to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.” But they insisted that an even more ambitious carbon reduction target would help the United States avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Regulators ask state lawmakers for leeway to comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan 

Source: Emily Holden and Scott Detrow, E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, December 11th, 2014

As conservative state legislators rally against U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the head of a group representing air agencies tasked with writing plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions is imploring them not to tie their states’ hands with laws that restrict options for complying with the draft rule. Twenty-seven states have told EPA they don’t believe it has legal authority to regulate “beyond the fence line,” or require emissions reductions outside power plants, said Paul Bailey, senior vice president of federal affairs and policy for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity

Prospects dim in push for tax breaks

Source: By Bernie Becker, The • Posted: Thursday, December 11th, 2014

President Obama and House Democrats mobilized Wednesday against a bill to permanently extend three separate incentives for charitable donations, giving the measure a difficult path to becoming law. The White House threatened to veto the measure on Wednesday, complaining that its $11 billion cost wasn’t offset one day after hinting about its opposition. Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders urged rank-and-file members to vote against the plan, which has the support of the tax-writing chairmen in both chambers. The measure would indefinitely restore tax breaks for land preservation, contributions from certain retirement accounts and food donations, all of which expired at the end of 2013.

House set to vote today on $1T CRomnibus; Senate vote expected soon 

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Aides said yesterday that they expected the Senate to be in session at least through tomorrow, and potentially through the weekend, to complete work on the spending and defense bills as well as a package of temporary tax incentives, known as extenders. If the Senate is unable to consider the spending measure today, aides said, a one- or two-day CR could be passed relatively quickly to prevent a shutdown while debate in the upper chamber continues.

Promoting Regional Energy Partnerships for Advancing Resilient Energy Systems Act (PREPARE Act)

Governors' Wind Energy Coalition • Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

The PREPARE Act authorizes DOE to enter into regional cooperative agreements with States, providing technical assistance and working closely with key stakeholders, to develop strategies and plans that address the unique energy needs of the region. Serving as a long-term strategic partner, DOE can act as convener, independent facilitator, and technical expert on emerging energy issues.