The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected part of a plan yesterday floated by a Southern grid operator and utilities to comply with the agency’s landmark Order 1000 rule over objections from Republican commissioners. FERC voted 3-2 to approve a plan filed by Southwest Power Pool (SPP) to comply with the rule, which aims to revamp the planning and financing of power lines. SPP operates the grid in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
If you have acrophobia, kinetosis or ancraophobia, Whiskey Dick Mountain is not for you. Because this wind farm called Wild Horse in Kittitas County has 149 turbine towers gently swaying in almost constant winds, 23 stories up.
More than 60 percent of Americans support President Obama’s effort to combat climate change, although support for individual components of his plan is even higher, according to results of a poll released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Sixty-six percent of those polled said climate change is a very serious or somewhat serious problem, including 46 percent of Republicans.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today stressed the importance of finding creative ways to unlock investment in clean energy – both today’s renewable power, and to create the breakthrough technologies that will combat climate change and transform the nation’s economy.
During the year-end flurry, Oregon rose to the top five states for wind energy production, and welcomed the nation’s second-largest complex at Shepherd’s Flat — just as the two multinational wind companies with Portland regional headquarters were shedding staff. Iberdrola Renewables, the North American arm of a Spain-based energy giant, laid off about 25 people last year, shrinking to about 375 employees. Vestas, the Danish wind turbine maker whose North American headquarters is blocks away in Northwest Portland, shrank to about 250 employees here, down from nearly 400.
How willing is U.S. EPA to compromise with industry on its power plant emissions standards? During today’s OnPoint, Robert Sussman, the former senior policy adviser at EPA, gives his take on the key hurdles facing the agency as it tries to meet President Obama’s aggressive timeline for new and existing power plant emissions standards. Sussman, who departed the agency earlier this month, also discusses how the holdup of Gina McCarthy’s confirmation as administrator has affected operations and slowed the progress of agency projects.
President Clinton today said efforts to bolster the world’s economy rest on a commitment to a “sustainable, green, shared future” at a ceremony that renamed U.S. EPA’s Washington, D.C., headquarters in his honor. “It’s not just that you can grow the economy and have a sustainable future,” he said. “It is the only way to do it.”
Xcel Energy on Tuesday announced its single largest increase in wind generation in the Upper Midwest, saying it will add three large wind farms in Minnesota and North Dakota. The additional 600 megawatts of electricity, enough to serve 180,000 homes, is a 33 percent increase over the Minneapolis-based utility’s existing wind capacity of 1,800 megawatts in the region.
The National Petroleum Council should study how power outages caused by major weather events such as last year’s Superstorm Sandy affect the availability of transportation fuel, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said today. Speaking at an NPC meeting in Washington, Moniz said the Obama administration’s efforts to address climate change would feature a heavy focus on how to adapt to the effects of rising temperatures and more frequent extreme weather, including examining how to ensure the resiliency of energy infrastructure. And he said the federally chartered advisory committee to the Department of Energy should play a central role in those efforts.
The Department of Energy has removed the top executive of the Bonneville Power Administration after an audit uncovered illegal hiring practices at the federal nonprofit agency. In an email to employees yesterday, DOE said Elliot Mainzer, deputy administrator, would step in as acting chief, replacing Bill Drummond.