New math of the Clean Power Plan ratchets up anger and burdens of coal states

Source: Jean Chemnick and Emily Holden, E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

When U.S. EPA released its long-awaited final Clean Power Plan last week, it was immediately clear that states would face vastly different obligations than they had been preparing for under the 2014 draft rule.

Many coal-heavy states originally faced relatively lax targets, based on a formula EPA had devised to account for current clean energy policies and infrastructure. But the draft rule’s algorithm was left on the cutting room floor and replaced by uniform standards applied directly to fossil-fuel power plants, no matter where they’re located — 771 pounds of carbon per megawatt-hour of power for natural gas plants, and 1,305 pounds of CO2/MWh for coal or oil plants.

Wind energy is flowing into D.C., but don’t expect your bill to decrease

Source: By Abigail Hauslohner, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, August 13th, 2015

District officials announced Wednesday that the city is now receiving enough electricity from wind power to meet one-third of the local government’s electricity needs under a deal that took effect Aug. 1. The deal, with the Spanish energy company Iberdrola Renewables, supplies city facilities with 125,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually from a wind farm in Pennsylvania, officials said.

Europe’s offshore wind industry has a ‘dream year,’ begins to expand rapidly

Source: Eric Marx, E&E Europe correspondent • Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

For an offshore wind industry accustomed to decadeslong development, 2015 is turning into a banner year. In the first six months, European offshore wind installations touched 2.34 gigawatts — establishing the best year ever for installed capacity. Output tripled over the same six-month period a year ago, and total installed offshore wind capacity in Europe hit 10.4 GW generated from 82 wind farms in 11 countries (rivaling the power production of 10 large nuclear power plants). “The bottom line is it’s been a dream year for Germany,” said Oliver Joy, political affairs spokesman for the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in Brussels.

$900 million wind energy project awaits final approval from Iowa board

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

A new wind energy project in Iowa is still awaiting final approval from the Iowa Utilities Board. The board met Tuesday to review a proposed settlement agreement for the project from Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy. No decision was made. MidAmerican filed plans earlier this year to build wind farms on two new sites, with a total cost of about $900 million. If approved, the company would start construction in the spring of 2016 and conclude by the end of the year.

Rule may never need to be revised — McCarthy

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Clean Power Plan will be so effective at incentivizing a shift to lower-carbon sources of power that the agency may never find it necessary to tighten its emissions limits, Administrator Gina McCarthy said today. Speaking at an event hosted by Resources for the Future, McCarthy said the existing power plant rule released Aug. 3 set a long-term market signal that would continue to encourage reductions even after its final compliance deadline.

Texas Power Demand Breaks Record Again in Heat Wave

Source: By Scott DiSavino, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

The Texas power grid operator said electric demand hit another record high on Monday as consumers cranked up their air conditioners to escape a brutal heat wave. Demand reached a record 69,783 megawatts on Monday, topping the previous records of 68,912 MW set on Aug. 6 and 68,459 MW on Aug. 5, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in a statement. ERCOT is the grid operator for most of the state. Before the latest heat wave, the grid’s previous peak demand was 68,305 MW set on Aug. 3, 2011. One MW is enough to power about 200 homes during periods of peak demand.

New Zealand marks end to coal power

Source: By Daniel J. Graeber, UPI • Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Coal-fired power is coming to an end in New Zealand as the country focuses on taking the global pole position in renewables, the energy minister said. “Historically coal has played an important role in ensuring the security of New Zealand’s electricity supply, particularly in dry years where our hydro-lake levels are low,” New Zealand Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said in a statement. “But significant market investment in other forms of renewable energy in recent years, particularly in geothermal, means that a coal backstop is becoming less of a requirement.”

Gov. Brown highlights climate change risks at site of Rocky fire

Source: By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

In his quest to force tougher action on climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown has traveled to China, Mexico, Canada, even the Vatican. But he was much closer to home on Thursday, just a couple dozen miles from the ranch his family has owned for generations. Standing in front of scorched hills, the smell of smoke lingering in the air, Brown said the wildfire that had ripped through the area was evidence that global warming already has created dangerous conditions in California. “This is a real wake-up call,” the governor said. “It’s a new normal.”

Wind power hits lowest price on record

Source: By Timothy Cama , The HIll • Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

The cost of electricity from wind power fell to its lowest point on record last year as the industry continued its growth pattern, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). A Monday report from DOE said wind power that utilities bought last year in purchase power agreements, the main measurement for comparing costs, was 2.35 cents per kilowatt hour, the drop of two-thirds from its 2009 peak. Wind saw the most growth of any power source last year and, with 66 gigawatts installed, now accounts for 4.9 percent of of the country’s electricity demand, DOE found.

Tax-credit uncertainty casts pall over industry boom — DOE

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Higher towers and larger turbines propelled the United States to “all-time low” wind power prices and world-leading wind production numbers last year, but that won’t be enough to overcome the loss of federal tax incentives, the Department of Energy said today in its annual wind market report. The report says total installed U.S. wind capacity is at about 66 gigawatts after an 8 percent growth spurt in 2014. An $8.3 billion investment in U.S. wind projects and 4,854 megawatts of new capacity was a big improvement after a “lackluster” 2013, the report says.