News

$75B needed annually to keep generation, U.S. grid system running smoothly — report

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Lagging investment in the nation’s electric power system could lead to a $107 billion funding shortfall for essential new generation and transmission lines by the end of the decade. That gap could grow sevenfold, to nearly $732 billion, by 2040, according to a new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The report, one of a series updating ASCE’s 2009 “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure,” concludes that such shortfalls could have major economic implications for U.S. homeowners and businesses as they are forced to cope with higher electricity prices and other costs associated with an inefficient electricity system.

Sparks fly as DOJ prosecutor forced to defend migratory bird law enforcement

Source: Lawrence Hurley, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 30th, 2012

Responding to criticism from an industry lawyer, the Justice Department’s top environmental crimes prosecutor yesterday mounted a foreceful defense of the government’s enforcement of a law that criminalizes the killing of migratory birds.

Duke Energy partners with Japanese firm to extend U.S. renewables

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 30th, 2012

Renewable energy development has been slow to take hold in the Southeast, but that hasn’t stopped one of the region’s dominant utilities, Duke Energy Corp., from significantly expanding its renewables footprint, even if it has to go to Texas, Kansas and Arizona to do it. Yesterday, Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke announced it had secured financing for 299 megawatts of new wind power generation in southwestern Kansas that it will build in a 50-50 joint venture with Sumitomo Corp. of America, a subsidiary of Japan’s Sumitomo Corp.

Nebraska public power district pressed to expand wind power

Source: Paul Hammel, WORLD-HERALD BUREAU • Posted: Friday, April 27th, 2012

A coalition of Nebraska environmental and farm groups called on the state’s largest utility to develop more wind power to address future energy needs instead of relying on coal-fired power plants. The group said Thursday that the Nebraska Public Power District should consider clean energy alternatives rather than spend $1.5 billion to retrofit existing coal-fired power plants to deal with new environmental regulations.

Natural Gas Is on a Roll, Executive Declares

Source: ERIC LIPTON, New York Times • Posted: Friday, April 27th, 2012

A “perfect storm” of economic and regulatory factors is driving major United States utilities to rapidly switch from coal to natural gas as an electric power source, the top executive of one of the nation’s largest utilities said on Thursday.

House tax subcommittee chairman open to production tax credit extension as bridge to phaseout

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, April 27th, 2012

A leading House Republican said yesterday that he is open to extending a key tax credit for the wind industry that is set to expire at the end of the year but that he wants to hear more from industry leaders on how many more years they will need the government’s support. The production tax credit for wind energy was one of the most popular topics of discussion yesterday at a House subcommittee hearing on a variety of temporary tax breaks that will disappear at year’s end unless Congress intervenes.

NV Energy pulls out of Idaho wind project over sage grouse concerns

Source: E&E • Posted: Thursday, April 26th, 2012

NV Energy Inc. has pulled out of a major Idaho wind energy project after environmental studies showed it could have “more than minor adverse effects” on the population of imperiled sage grouse.

37,000 jobs at risk if wind energy tax credits expire, backers say

Source: Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Supporters of a bipartisan effort to protect the American wind energy industry say that 37,000 U.S. jobs will be at risk this year if Congress fails to extend the production tax credits that have been vital to wind power development. The call for Congress to pass HR 3307, the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act, was made during a teleconference hosted by three members of Congress, the American Wind Energy Assn. and TPI Composites, a Newton, Iowa-based wind blade manufacturer.

Vets group promotes wind tax credit ahead of extenders hearing

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 26th, 2012

With a key House committee set to begin today considering whether to extend a key wind energy tax break that expires at the end of the year, a veterans group is pointing to the role renewable energy plays keeping the lights on at remote bases in war zones and providing jobs to veterans when they return home. A Ways and Means subcommittee meets this morning to consider proposed legislation that would extend a variety of temporary tax provisions scheduled to expire at the end of this year, including the production tax credit (PTC) for wind, which has been a key focus for renewable energy backers on and off Capitol Hill.

Clean-Energy Requirements Targeted by ALEC, Norquist

Source: Jim Snyder, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Small-government groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council, whose advocacy for Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground law and other measures have drawn calls to revoke its tax-exempt status, are taking aim at state mandates requiring renewable energy use. While environmentalists view the clean-energy standards as vital to reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, groups like ALEC and the Grover Norquist-run Americans for Tax Reform say the mandates are a hidden tax on consumers and a drag on state economies.