Obama to propose free community college

Source: By Justin Sink, The • Posted: Friday, January 9th, 2015

Separately, Obama is also expected to propose a new training fund that would provide additional grant dollars for technical training programs. The fund would underwrite the start-up of 100 centers for teaching workers the skills they need to secure jobs in high-growth fields like energy, IT, and advanced manufacturing. And Obama will announce the establishment of a new manufacturing hub at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville designed to create new materials lighter and stronger than steel. The new materials could be used to lighten cars and trucks — increasing their fuel efficiency — or to create bigger wind turbines.

Filling Podesta’s void 

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 9th, 2015

The looming departure of President Obama’s front man on climate issues is sparking speculation in energy circles. The question on their minds: What will happen to energy and climate issues in a post-John Podesta White House? “I think there’s a lot of anxiety, I think there’s a lot of questions,” said Eric Washburn, an energy industry lobbyist at Bracewell & Giuliani. “We know these issues are going to be coming up again and again, and no one knows quite how this White House system is going to work in the next two years.”

Which power sources kept the lights on during the 2014 polar vortex? 

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 9th, 2015

Findings from the American Wind Energy Association show that during the January 2014 polar vortex event, which occurred one year ago this week, wind energy “provided large quantities of critical electricity supply when it was needed most, keeping the lights on and reducing the impact of [electricity] price spikes,” the trade group said in a white paper released yesterday.

Gov. Brown’s Renewable Energy Plan Could Boost Solar, Wind Industries

Source: By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Friday, January 9th, 2015

California already has shown that generating large amounts of renewable energy is possible. The next phase — coordinating the new power with the needs of the electrical grid — will be much more complicated, said V. John White, executive director of the Sacramento-based Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies. “Meeting the governor’s goal is easily achievable,” he said. “But making it fit and work together in terms of [the] grid is the difficulty. The more we add renewables to the system, the more we have to think about how they fit with what we have.”

U.S. EPA delays and combines its new power plant rules 

Source: Scott Detrow, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 9th, 2015

U.S. EPA is delaying the final rollout of its new rules aimed at lowering the power sector’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. And while the agency insists the two delays — one a matter of months, the other a matter of weeks — are aimed at helping states develop compliance plans, observers say the moves could help shield the efforts from legal and congressional challenges.

Google invests in Utah’s largest solar plant 

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Technology giant Google Inc. is investing $157 million in a solar plant that will be Utah’s largest, the Silicon Valley-based company said today. The deal with Norway-based Scatec Solar will develop the Red Hills Renewable Energy Park in Parowan, Utah, about 190 miles northeast of Las Vegas. When finished, it will be Scatec Solar’s largest constructed project in North America in addition to being the state’s largest solar plant.

Advanced Energy Economy’s Woolf says EPA climate rule to converge with utility business evolution in 2015 

Source: Monica Trauzzi, E&E • Posted: Thursday, January 8th, 2015

As Republicans gain control of both chambers of Congress this week, energy and climate issues are expected to dominate discussions on Capitol Hill. How will the power shift, oil price dynamics and the Obama administration’s executive actions on climate impact policies coming out of the 114th Congress? During today’s OnPoint, Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president for policy and government affairs at Advanced Energy Economy, previews crucial legislative and regulatory energy battles expected this year. He also explains how the debate, and likely vote, on the Keystone XL pipeline could set the stage for subsequent energy measures.

Cutting oil use by 50 percent difficult but doable, experts say

Source: By David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronic;le • Posted: Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of cutting California’s oil use in half may sound like an impossible task in a state famous for freeways and sprawl. But by one measure, we may be halfway there. Similarly, Brown’s call for California to get half of its electricity from the sun, the wind and other renewable sources by the year 2030 seems daunting, except that we’re already at 25 percent. The state is widely expected to hit 33 percent by 2020, if not sooner.

EPA delays power plant rules, will write model reg for states 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 8th, 2015

U.S. EPA will put off finalizing its greenhouse gas rules for new, modified and existing power plants until midsummer, acting EPA air chief Janet McCabe said today. The new schedule means deadlines will slip for all three regulations. McCabe also announced EPA will begin writing a federal model rule for the Clean Power Plan for existing power generators.

Big setback for Cape Wind as utilities terminate power deals 

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 8th, 2015

The Cape Wind project suffered a major blow yesterday when two utilities opted to terminate agreements to purchase power from the planned offshore wind farm.Northeast Utilities and National Grid had agreed to purchase more than 75 percent of the power produced by Cape Wind’s planned 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Today, the utilities attributed their decision to terminate the contract to Cape Wind’s failure to meet a Dec. 31 financing deadline for the $2.5 billion project.