The governor and State Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha on Monday urged state lawmakers to hold off on passing new tax exemptions while they work on overhauling the whole tax system. If the Legislature’s Revenue Committee heeds their calls, two bills that would add wind farms to the state’s business tax incentive programs would be sunk.
If all goes according to plan, a few years hence, hundreds of thousands of homes in Southern California will be turning on their lights with electricity generated by Wyoming’s whipping winds. That’s the ambitious vision of billionaire-backed energy companies and economic development officials aiming to construct thousands of turbines and hundreds of miles of power lines connecting remote, windy Wyoming to dense cities across the Desert Southwest.
weeping federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect next month have sparked a quiet lobbying campaign and veiled threats of lawsuits from renewable energy interests expecting smaller project grants. Much remains unknown about the depth of the cuts or how many grantees would be affected. But if Congress and the White House are unable to reach a deal to avoid “sequestration” before March 1, spending cuts will hit virtually every line in the federal government’s budget, including the clean energy grant program created in the 2009 stimulus law.
At the Union of Concerned Scientists, the senior energy analyst Michael B. Jacobs, who has a blog called the Energy Roller Coaster, has been sounding the alarm about over-reliance on natural gas in New England and Texas. The solution, he said, would be to turn to more renewable energy sources like wind so that the demand for gas would be smaller at clinch times. “You don’t have nearly so much of a price spike if you have more renewables in your portfolio,” he said.
The debate over tax reform is just starting on Capitol Hill, and its implications for energy companies have not yet been a central piece of lawmakers’ discussions, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is claiming the left flank of the debate with legislation introduced yesterday. Sanders’ bill would eliminate a broad swath of tax benefits for oil and natural gas companies while extending renewable energy tax credits through 2020 — longer than even some renewable industry officials think those credits will be necessary.
The Obama administration is proposing to significantly reduce the size and energy output of a large-scale wind farm project proposal in Southern California to avoid impacts to golden eagles and endangered condors. At issue is the Bureau of Land Management’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Alta East Wind Project, which includes a “preferred alternative” that the project be significantly scaled back from the original proposal to string together as many as 106 wind turbines across more than 2,500 acres of mostly public land in Kern County, according to an advance notice published in today’s Federal Register.
The global expansion of relatively inexpensive shale oil may threaten investment in renewable energy and global emissions goals and could pose other environmental risks, environmentalists warned in the wake of a report that found shale oil could make up 12 percent of oil production by 2035.
Proponents of renewable energy are bracing themselves for a Texas Legislature that no longer supports renewables, instead favoring cheap natural gas, tight budgets and tea party policies.
The big challenge: getting all the wind energy produced out here in far West Texas to the big cities that need the power. So the state is laying thousands of miles of transmission lines to get the job done. Construction is supposed to be completed by the end of the year. It can’t happen soon enough for Doug May. May’s the economic development director for Pecos County. The $6.8 billion the state is spending on new transmission lines will double the capacity to deliver wind power to Texas cities.
Advocates for wind energy urged state lawmakers Thursday to grant a sales tax exemption on wind turbines and other equipment to make Nebraska more competitive for new wind farms. Nebraska is falling behind neighboring states, they said, because it does not offer exemptions on the purchases of turbines, towers and other wind-farm equipment. That, a legislative panel was told, adds another $1.2 million a year in financing costs on a midsize wind farm and has forced investors to go elsewhere.