EPA trumpets ‘considerable gains’ in curbing toxic emissions

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 22nd, 2014

U.S. emissions of air pollutants linked to cancer, asthma and other serious health problems have plunged over the past few decades, according to a report released today by U.S. EPA. Overall, toxic air pollution from smokestacks and other stationary sources has declined 1.5 million tons each year between 1990 and 2012, while emissions from motor vehicles and other moving pollution sources have been cut in half each year during that time, EPA said.

Wind developer drops project, citing state regs

Source: William Thornton, Birmingham News • Posted: Friday, August 22nd, 2014

New wind energy regulations in Alabama caused a wind farm developer to abandon two projects in the state, the company’s attorney said. Pioneer Green Energy attorney Charlie Stewart said the Texas-based company dropped plans for two wind farms after the state passed a wind energy bill that limited the noise that wind farms can produce. The rule also requires wind projects to have a larger setback from nearby properties.

Calif. takes a crack at climate’s effects — but first, a definition of success

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 21st, 2014

California has been trying to mitigate climate change for more than a decade now but is just now getting down to business on dealing with its impacts. At the state’s first-ever adaptation forum this week, experts ruminated on the meaning and utility of terms like “resiliency” and “readiness,” as well as “adaptation” itself, to refer to measures taken in response to the rising seas, fiercer storms, more-frequent wildfires and other phenomena expected to intensify as greenhouse gas levels rise.

Md. offshore wind auction rakes in $8.7M

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 21st, 2014

The Interior Department’s third auction of acreage for offshore wind development was dubbed a resounding success by the federal agency, drawing a final bid of $8,701,098 for two lease areas totaling nearly 80,000 acres near Ocean City, Md. This result far outstrips the winning bids during the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s first two offshore wind energy area auctions; the first, for ocean area near Rhode Island and Massachusetts, resulted in a final bid of $3.8 million, and the second, for ocean area near Virginia, garnered $1.6 million.

N.J. appellate court orders state regulators to reconsider rejected offshore wind farm project

Source: By Alexi Friedman, Newark Star-Ledger  • Posted: Thursday, August 21st, 2014

A New Jersey appellate court has ordered the state Board of Public Utilities to take another look at an application seeking to build a $188 million demonstration wind farm off the Atlantic City coast, a proposal the BPU rejected in March. The coalition of developers that is proposing the wind farm, called Fishermen’s Energy, filed the appeal. The group had asked that the BPU reconsider its decision after the U.S. Department of Energy in May awarded $47 million toward the project’s construction, calling it “pioneering.”

Ore. state agency denies permit for Ambre Energy export terminal

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) denied a key permit for a proposed coal export terminal yesterday, dealing a setback to companies who have long hoped to send U.S. coal across the Pacific Ocean. In announcing its decision on the Coyote Island Terminal, which was to be constructed near Boardman, Ore., on the Columbia River, the agency cited the more than 20,000 public comments it had received and wrote that the project “is not consistent with the protection, conservation and best use of the state’s water resources.”

U.S. wind installations slump below China, Germany, India

Source: Benjamin Hulac, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Despite anemic installation figures in 2013, political uncertainty about the extension of renewable energy tax incentives and competition from low-cost natural gas — as well as other renewables — the U.S. wind energy industry remains set to bounce back in the next two fiscal years, according to a Department of Energy technology report released yesterday. The U.S. wind sector added merely 1,087 megawatts of new capacity in 2013, a 92 plunge from 2012 installation figures, but remained the second-largest wind market based on cumulative electrical capacity with 61 total gigawatts.

Md. lease sale sees record bidding

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Energy companies so far have bid more than $10 million for the right to build wind farms in waters off the coast of Ocean City, Md., far eclipsing the highest bids in the Interior Department’s two previous offshore wind auctions held in 2013 off Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia. And bids continue to roll in.

Turbine operator reduces output to limit bat deaths

Source: By Henry Brean, Las Vegas Review-Journal • Posted: Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

A Nevada wind farm has been forced to make changes after killing more bats than allowed under a deal with the federal government. The 152-megawatt Spring Valley Wind Energy project northeast of Las Vegas has adjusted its turbine operations at night to factor in bat migrations through the region. On nights with heavy bat activity, the turbines now kick in when wind speeds reach 11 mph, instead of about 7 mph, the facility’s owner said.

Overloaded power lines mean profits for traders

Source: Doan/Crawford, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Traders betting on electric transmission constraints netted nearly $2 billion in the first quarter of this year. PJM Interconnection LLC’s market alone yielded $1.1 billion in profits for traders — three times last year’s total, the operator said. Other big payouts were in New York, California and Texas. More traders are looking to the grid operator-run transmission-rights markets, which power market deregulation created. Julia Sullivan, co-head of the energy regulation and enforcement practice at law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, said the firm has seen a “pretty steady drumbeat of clients” interested in jumping into those markets.