Now, flow batteries are being viewed as a possible way to help the electrical grid handle greater amounts of renewable energy, and they are being developed further by companies like UniEnergy Technologies, the maker of the Pullman battery, and academic and government researchers. Because solar panels and wind turbines produce varying amounts of electricity during the day, utilities and system operators must work harder to integrate the renewable sources into the grid. Batteries are one way to do this, by storing excess electricity from solar panels during the middle of the day, for example, and releasing it in the evening.
What Yale is doing, Nordhaus said, is adopting a mantra requiring departments and administrators to consider the complete sticker price that comes with constructing a new dormitory, for example, or expanding energy-intensive facilities. “You can build it, but you have to pay the whole cost,” said Nordhaus, describing the school’s carbon-taxing plan and calling carbon taxes “instinctive to economists.” Based on energy consumption, the program would levy a charge against university departments of $40 per metric ton of emissions. That $40 number is the current figure the federal government uses to estimate the social cost of carbon, a term describing the complete economic and societal costs underpinning greenhouse gas emissions.
A bipartisan duo agreed today that eventual enactment of a carbon tax is all but inevitable but that it will require the support of both Democrats and Republicans. Speaking at a forum hosted by the center-right American Enterprise Institute, Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) and former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) touted a levy on carbon as one way to break through the congressional impasse on climate change, especially if it comes attached to a reduction in the corporate tax rate. Both said they expected Congress to embrace it someday.
American renewable energy company Iberdrola Renewables has entered into long-term power supply agreements with Equinix data centers. The company will supply data centers with clean energy produced by a fleet of wind farms that Iberdrola operates. Wind farms in Washington, Oregon and Texas will be supplying bulk of the power.
State senators amended and then advanced a bill Wednesday that would provide a first-ever production tax credit for wind farms and other renewable energy facilities. The 25-3 vote to advance the proposal from the first round came after a long debate over whether such a tax break could succeed in creating an incentive or whether Nebraska is too late to become a big player in wind energy. Nebraska’s wind energy potential has always ranked among the highest in the nation. But its production of energy via wind farms has lagged behind, ranking 18th nationally in 2013. By contrast, neighboring Iowa was No. 1 in wind energy production that year, with about eight times more wind turbines than Nebraska.
“The administration has made it a priority to work with industry to identify challenges and create solutions for increasing the security and resilience of the electric grid, including the development of an integrated national plan to mitigate challenges pertaining to aging power transformers, the cyber and physical security of transformers, and the vulnerabilities of large power transformers,” the QER says.
Climate change will be a major factor in the future of power lines, natural gas pipelines, fuel depots and rail tanker cars, according to the Department of Energy’s first installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review(QER), released yesterday. The 348-page document, stemming from the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, focused on how hydrocarbons and electrons get from point A to point B, mapping out the current state of affairs and recommending pathways to ensure that energy reliably gets from producers to end-users in the coming decade. Proposals included more than $15 billion in spending and tax credits to improve energy infrastructure (Greenwire, April 21).
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced legislation yesterday that would give federal regulators power to override state decisions and site power lines meant to move large amounts of renewable energy across long distances. “We certainly understand that states would have a lot of questions about how any new federal authority would affect their existing authority,” said Bill White, senior adviser for Americans for a Clean Energy Grid. “At the same time, we all recognize that there’s a challenge here in getting these really important and valuable interstate infrastructure projects built.”
While Congress struggles to define the federal government’s role in promoting solar and wind power, American homeowners remain strongly supportive of federal tax credits and other subsidies for emissions-free electricity, according to recent polling done by the consulting firm Zogby Analytics. The January survey of 1,400 homeowners, commissioned by Clean Edge Inc. and SolarCity, revealed that 74 percent of homeowners support continuing the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar power and the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy, while nearly 9 in 10 homeowners believe renewable energy is important to the nation’s future.
Contrary to the claims of Thomas Pyle [“As taxman cometh, wind producers get a windfall,” April 14], whose group is funded by the fossil fuel billionaire Koch brothers, wind has received far less in tax credits and other government support than other energy sources. Its primary federal incentive, the Production Tax Credit, has been successful in attracting more than $100 billion to the U.S. economy since 2008 and increasing the amount of electricity provided by clean, affordable wind power.