Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are all getting into green energy in a big way. But for companies with a lack of capital or direct access to energy sources, going green isn’t so easy. Corporate power purchase agreements from renewable energy providers have surged in popularity amid a slew of policies aimed at increasing renewable power sources in states and nationwide. But signing off on 20-year power purchase agreements for renewable energy resources is often the easiest part of the process. Often companies encounter a Gordian knot of regulations, financial and legal protocols that eat up valuable work hours.
Hundt believes the same experience could be repeated in developing clean energy to cope with global climate change. Borrowed money paid for the communications boom, Hundt explained, speaking yesterday at an energy efficiency conference in Washington, D.C. He added that world leaders should apply the same method to fund the renewable energy market.
“Everything in communications has been purchased with debt,” he said, holding up an iPhone and describing how rapidly mobile phones have spread internationally.
The bipartisan co-chairs of the Grid Innovation Caucus unveiled two bills yesterday for shoring up critical transformers, paving the way for federal recognition of “smart grid” technology.
Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina and Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney of California floated H.R. 2244, which would direct the Energy secretary to shore up an emergency stockpile of mobile high-voltage grid transformers that could replace units damaged by storms or a terrorist attack.
A hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee homed in on some of the key considerations Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and her colleagues will have to balance as they try to craft the first bipartisan, comprehensive energy bill to be considered in years. The hearing was called to consider nearly two dozen proposed energy infrastructure bills proposing various approaches to compensating owners of rooftop solar panels, siting new gas pipelines and electric transmission wires, and updating decades-old laws governing utilities, among other issues.
In the United States, Tesla is set to sell a 10 kilowatt-hour, lithium-ion battery that is mounted on the wall for $3,500, and another lower-capacity model for $3,000. The batteries are expected to be available in Europe this year and in the Asia-Pacific region in early 2016, according to Khobi Brooklyn, director of global communications at Tesla. International pricing has not yet been announced.
Back in 2010, China became the world’s largest wind energy producer and the boom is continuing unabated, fuelled by government support and ambitious renewable energy targets. Data from the China Wind Energy Association (CWEA) revealed that wind energy surpassed nuclear for the very first time in 2012 to become the country’s third largest source of electricity, after coal and hydro-electric power.
West Virginia’s two senators took the lead today in launching their chamber’s flagship bid to kill U.S. EPA’s proposed rules for carbon emissions from new and existing power plants, pledging the bill would move quickly through committee. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) sponsored the measure, which heavily borrowed from a bill that co-sponsor and Mountain State colleague Sen. Joe Manchin (D) floated in the last Congress. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) promised at a Capitol press conference unveiling the bill today that he would prioritize it.
For the first time in three years, natural gas is about to catch up with coal as a fuel for the nation’s power plants, foreshadowing the crucial role of gas supplies in meeting U.S. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. Natural gas prices below $3 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) have created the closest convergence of the two power plant fuels since April 2012, the Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Analysis reported yesterday. And the dead heat that April was the only other time that has ever happened, noted EIA, an arm of the Department of Energy.
Philip Moeller, an outspoken Republican member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, announced yesterday that he plans to leave the agency in the coming months, creating an opening expected to be filled by a senior Senate GOP aide. Moeller’s likely replacement is Patrick McCormick, senior counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who has deep ties in the energy world. A source familiar with the situation said McCormick would be the nominee.
Sen. Tom Udall introduced legislation today that would force utilities to generate more of their power from clean sources, such as wind, energy and coal. The New Mexico Democrat’s effort to implement a so-called “renewable electricity standard” has no Republican co-sponsors and likely faces a tough, uphill climb in the GOP-controlled Congress. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat who sits on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is a cosponsor. The Udall-Heinrich bill would require utilities to generate 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. That’s a boost from the 25 percent by 2025 mandate that Udall tried to legislate in his very first Senate bill back in 2009.