Obama defends climate diplomacy, backs aid for islands

Source: Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Declaring himself an “island boy,” President Obama met with Pacific and Caribbean leaders today and announced $30 million toward a risk insurance program aimed at shielding vulnerable countries from climate change-related disasters. Departing Paris after two days of shoring up support for a new global climate agreement, Obama said France’s decision to host nearly 200 countries just two weeks after deadly terrorist attacks showed a “remarkable display of resolve.” He hit back against those who criticized spending time on climate change at a time when national security threats loom large.

Wind, Solar Power to Supply More Energy Than Shale, Goldman Says

Source: By Chris Martin, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

New wind turbines and solar panels worldwide will provide more energy over the next five years than U.S. shale-oil production has over the past five, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The leading renewable-energy technologies will add the equivalent of 6.2 million barrels of oil a day to the global energy mix, exceeding the 5.7 million barrels a day pumped from U.S. shale oil wells since 2010, analysts including Brian Lee and Jaakko Kooroshy said in a research report Monday.

Foreign firms show continued interest in U.S. wind projects

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

A large Texas wind farm will come under Greek ownership under terms announced by the project’s primary developer, while an existing wind project in Minnesota will shift ownership from one Qatari firm to another, pending approval by U.S. regulators. The 380-megawatt Fluvanna Wind Energy Project, to be built in Scurry County, Texas, about 70 miles south of Lubbock, gained new financial security as developer Tri Global Energy LLC announced it had sold the project to Terna Energy SA of Athens, Greece, for an undisclosed sum.

A Path for Climate Change, Beyond Paris

Source: By JUSTIN GILLIS, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

But many political leaders gathering there — including governors, mayors, and provincial cabinet secretaries — are pushing for more aggressive cuts. By the dozen, they are signing a voluntary agreement committing their jurisdictions to faster and deeper reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases than their national governments have promised. “We are not moving fast enough,” Gov. Jerry Brown of California, who is helping to lead the effort, said in an interview. “We’ve got to do more.” All of which raises a provocative question: What would a truly ambitious plan to tackle climate change look like?

Obama threatens to veto sweeping House bill

Source: Hannah Northey and Hannah Hess, E&E reporters • Posted: Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

The White House yesterday threatened to veto the lower chamber’s comprehensive energy bill, warning that the language would undermine ongoing environmental reviews of critical energy infrastructure and stifle efforts to expand efficiency. The House energy package, H.R. 8, would ax critical mandates needed to wean federal buildings off of fossil fuels by 2030, unnecessarily tinker with complex energy markets, and undermine the current federal review process for gas pipelines and hydropower projects, the White House said.

Wind, solar credits tied up in extenders tussle

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

The fate of key renewable energy tax credits remains up in the air, as House and Senate leaders continue negotiations on an extenders package they hope to pass before the end of the year. Aides and lobbyists said yesterday that multiyear extensions of the production tax credit of 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour and the 30 percent investment tax credit remain under discussion, although the duration of the extensions is tied up in broader conversations over making some of the dozens of expired credits permanent. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters yesterday that discussions continue but predicted a deal would be struck.

Massive waves, howling winds test turbines in ‘mini ocean’

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, November 30th, 2015

The University of Maine is opening a first-of-its-kind “miniature ocean” today that can demonstrate how everything from floating wind turbines to coastal cities may react to “some of the worst storms possible anywhere on Earth.” The impetus for the $13.8 million project — which involves a massive wave pool tied to a rotating wind machine — is to accelerate the development of renewable ocean energy technologies like offshore wind and tidal devices, said Habib Dagher, director of the university’s Advanced Structures & Composites Center in Orono, Maine, which will operate the new Harold Alfond W² Ocean Engineering Lab. It also can prepare local communities for more intense storms associated with climate change by simulating future conditions, he said.

Gov. Cuomo May Order 50% Renewable Energy In NY By 2030

Source: By Jake Richardson, CleanTechnica • Posted: Monday, November 30th, 2015

Governor Andrew Cuomo is reportedly planning to order state regulators to mandate that 50% of all electricity in New York come from renewable sources. Two nuclear power plants will probably be shut down at some point, so the electricity they generate will need to be placed, and it only seems sensible to replace it with clean, renewable electricity, given the cost of new nuclear power. (One of the nuclear plants has also been losing about $60 million a year.)

Presidential Contenders Differ Sharply on Climate, Energy

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, November 30th, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders calls climate change the greatest threat to national security. Front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton promises to install more than 500 million solar panels across the country. On the Republican side, Jeb Bush would phase out tax credits for solar power. Rival Marco Rubio wants to cut the federal gas tax by 80 percent.

Congress Returns to Looming Deadlines on Budget, Highways

Source: By Erica Werner, The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, November 30th, 2015

The $95 billion package would extend more than 50 tax credits, exemptions and deductions through 2016. Support for these so-called tax extenders is bipartisan. Among the biggest breaks for businesses are a tax credit for research and development; an exemption that allows financial companies such as banks and investment firms to shield foreign profits from being taxed by the U.S.; and several provisions that allow businesses to write off capital investments more quickly. There is also a generous tax credit for using wind farms and other renewable energy sources to produce electricity.