Senate Dems push to tie green-power tax credits to transportation bill as ‘extenders’ window closes

Source: Elana Schor • E&E • Posted: Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Senate Democrats today plan to propose attaching a longer life for two tax credits hotly sought by renewable energy companies to a two-year transportation bill as the long-term fate of those “extenders” remains in limbo.
The two amendments pitched by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to the transportation bill ahead of a Finance Committee markup set for this afternoon would extend the wind production tax credit until 2013 and revive a Treasury Department program that gave renewables producers grants in lieu of a tax credit before it expired at the end of last year.

Wind energy leaps ahead in Neb.

WORLD-HERALD NEWS SERVICE • Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2012

Opportunities for wind energy in Nebraska took a huge leap forward last week. The Southwest Power Pool approved a plan to construct a high-voltage transmission line from the Gerald Gentleman Station power plant near Sutherland north into Cherry County and then east through northern Nebraska.

Interior begins review of Mass. lease

Source: Phil Taylot • Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2012

The Interior Department today said it is beginning a review of commercial wind energy leasing off the coast of Massachusetts, the latest in a handful of states to move forward with development.

Cost Of Wind Energy Trending Toward An All-Time Low

North American Wind Power • Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2012

The levelized cost of wind energy (LCOWE) is headed toward an all-time low – approaching approximately $0.03/kWh in the bestwind resource sites, finds a new report by the National RenewableEnergy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).

Wind-Power Firms on Edge

Source: RYAN TRACY • Wall Street Journal • Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2012

Wind power is facing a make-or-break moment in Congress, with renewable-energy firms’ projects on hold as lawmakers debate whether to extend subsidies for new wind farms this month. Industry players see two main chances for Congress to act this year. One comes in February, when the wind subsidies could be tacked on to an extension of payroll-tax cuts. The other would come in the lame-duck session after November elections, when lawmakers must address the expiration of tax cuts from 2001

Conservative group slams GOP push for wind credit in tax cut bill

Source: Elana Schor • E&E • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

A show of support from two Midwestern GOP governors for a wind-industry tax credit yesterday drew fire from Washington conservatives, underscoring the hard road for renewables advocates pushing to extend the break.
Advocates of extending the production tax credit (PTC) for wind, set to expire at year’s end if Congress does not act, hailed a letter released yesterday by Republican Govs. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Terry Branstad of Iowa that warned of job losses and squandered power-generation potential if the benefit were not re-upped.

Federal Government Opens More Ocean to Wind Projects

Source: DIANE CARDWELL • New York Times • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Enthusiasm for offshore wind projects may have cooled among developers in the United States these days, but the Obama administration is still trying to make a ribbon of wind farms off the Atlantic Coast a reality. On Thursday, Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, and Tommy P. Beaudreau, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said the government had completed an environmental review and found that selling leases for wind energy would not create environmental problems in the designated “wind energy areas” off the coasts of Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Delaware.

Branstad urges renewed PTC for wind

Source: Dan Piller • Des Moines Register • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

The Midwestern governors said “our states have experienced the economic benefits of wind first hand,” said the letter, addressed to the Senate-House conference committee. The PTC has been attached to the newest version of the Payroll Tax cut, to be debated later this month. Wind interests say that wind equipment providers and operators need to have the new law in place at least by the end of the first half of this year in order to secure financing for projects beyond this year.

Administration Fast-Tracks Offshore Wind Farms

Source: RYAN TRACY • Wall Street Journal • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

The Obama administration said it planned to make areas off the coasts of Maryland and New Jersey available to wind-energy developers by year’s end, paving the way for the first leases under a program designed to fast-track offshore wind farms.

While President Barack Obama has said he favors an “all of the above” approach to energy development, Thursday’s announcement highlighted the stronger emphasis he places on wind and solar power compared with Republicans. A House committee on Wednesday approved three bills promoting oil-and-gas exploration, an issue also stressed by the GOP’s presidential candidates.

Why the Clean Tech Boom Went Bust

Source: Juliet Eilperin • Wired (February) • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2012

In 2005, VC investment in clean tech measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The following year, it ballooned to $1.75 billion, according to the National Venture Capital Association. By 2008, the year after Doerr’s speech, it had leaped to $4.1 billion. And the federal government followed. Through a mix of loans, subsidies, and tax breaks, it directed roughly $44.5 billion into the sector between late 2009 and late 2011. Avarice, altruism, and policy had aligned to fuel a spectacular boom. Anyone who has heard the name Solyndra knows how this all panned out. Due to a confluence of factors—including fluctuating silicon prices, newly cheap natural gas, the 2008 financial crisis, China’s ascendant solar industry, and certain technological realities—the clean-tech bubble has burst, leaving us with a traditional energy infrastructure still overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuels. The fallout has hit almost every niche in the clean-tech sector—wind, biofuels, electric cars, and fuel cells—but none more dramatically than solar.