Energy, environmental groups spent big on advocacy in 2014 

Source: Kevin Bogardus, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Energy and environmental interests spent hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars on federal lobbying last year. While Capitol Hill may have offered little in legislation to lobby on, the Obama administration proposed a number of controversial regulations that pitted powerful industries against each other in Washington.

Interior eyes 300K acres off N.C. for future leasing 

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 23rd, 2015

The Interior Department today announced the release of an environmental assessment of a plan to lease up to 300,000 acres off the coast of North Carolina for the construction of offshore wind farms. The plan calls for leasing a 122,000-acre wind energy area about 28 miles off the coast of Kitty Hawk and two additional areas of 52,000 acres and 134,000 acres beginning about 12 miles off Cape Fear.

FERC had no ‘meaningful’ input on climate rule — commissioner 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

U.S. EPA for months has said it worked with grid overseers when crafting its landmark Clean Power Plan in order to protect grid reliability, but at least one member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is publicly questioning the depth of that input. Republican FERC Commissioner Tony Clark told House and Senate Republicans in a letter this month that no commission members or agency staff had any “significant or meaningful role” in providing analysis to EPA on grid reliability on the Clean Power Plan, either before or after the proposal was released last summer.

Industry will seek extension of tax credit set to plummet next year 

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Solar energy industry officials yesterday said they will seek an extension of a tax credit that is set to drop by two-thirds in 2016, adding another potentially contentious issue to the growing energy debate in Congress this year. Solar producers will lobby lawmakers to extend a 30 percent investment tax credit for commercial-scale projects that drops at the end of next year, said Solar Energy Industries Association President and CEO Rhone Resch.

Wind energy expanding in Michigan

Source: By WZZM • Posted: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Michigan’s use of wind energy is expanding. Enough turbines are expected to go up this year around the state, including in Mason County, to produce 250 megawatts.

Obama’s climate focus won’t waver as key aides exit — CEQ chief 

Source: Corbin Hiar, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

The outgoing head of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality said today that he’s sure the Obama administration’s effort to combat climate change won’t waver — even though President Obama is losing two of his top environmental aides.

Economic policy insider to fill Podesta’s shoes 

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Brian Deese, deputy director of the White House budget office and a longtime aide to President Obama, will take over for John Podesta in February. The new gig — which comes with the title of senior adviser — will include taking over Podesta’s portfolio on climate and energy issues, which will be among the president’s “top priorities for the remainder of his term,” a White House official said yesterday.

House passes pipeline bill amid partisan debate, veto threat 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

The House yesterday approved a controversial bill to fast-track federal approval of natural gas pipelines despite sharp Democratic opposition and a veto threat from the White House. The chamber voted 253-169 to approve Rep. Mike Pompeo’s (R-Kan.) “Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act,” H.R. 161, which would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a year to approve or deny a pipeline, and other agencies are given three or four months beyond that to complete their work on any additional permits, licenses or approvals that would be needed.

Udall Introduces Amendment To Keystone Pipeline Bill To Create Renewable Energy Standard

Source: By KRWG • Posted: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that he has introduced an amendment to the Keystone XL Pipeline bill to establish a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that would create over a quarter of a million jobs, reduce pollution and save consumers billions of dollars. The legislation, which would help the United States become energy independent while establishing our leadership in clean energy production, would require utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2025.

How will the state get 50% of its energy from ‘renewable resources’ by 2050? 

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Businesses in California have been thinking about this goal for some time. An analysis is well underway on how the state can cut its carbon footprint in half by 2030. It’s being funded by about two dozen companies, trade groups and foundations with interests in large-scale renewable energy, including GE, Sunpower, NRG, BrightSource Energy, the American Wind Energy Association and the Energy Foundation.