Offshore wind developer Cape Wind will not secure all financing for its Nantucket Sound wind farm by the end of 2014 as previously planned, it said today. Instead, the project is hoping to do so by the end of the first quarter 2015, project spokesman Mark Rodgers wrote in an email. He would not comment further on the financial status of the planned first-in-the-nation offshore wind farm, simply saying, “We are moving forward.”
Despite a divided state Legislature coming out of the 2014 midterm elections, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) says 2015 is the year for his state to get serious about climate change.
“Everyone agrees on the basic proposition” that the climate is changing and that the state needs to act on it, he said yesterday, speaking at REI’s main outlet in Seattle. “We don’t all agree on what the first steps should be. But I’m open to all ideas.” Inslee laid out his plan for cutting greenhouse gas emissions yesterday. Its centerpiece is a carbon cap for major emitters and a system of allowances they would purchase to stay within the cap, he said. Revenue from the system would go toward education, transportation and support for vulnerable communities.
Much of the opposition to EPA’s proposed rules governing power plant GHG emissions rests on broad assertions (illegal, unworkable, damaging to electric reliability, economically unsound), but here’s a case where the issue is very specific and possibly unique, with 10 members of Congress from four states (six senators; four from the House — including one senator-elect; five Republicans, five Democrats) urging EPA to consider what would happen to South Dakota under its proposal.
Senators expressed little pleasure in voting for what they called the least bad option on Tuesday. “This two-week extenders bill represents another low point in the world of dysfunctional Washington politics,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). “This bill does little to help families and businesses in Colorado, particularly our wind energy industry. Waiting until now to extend the wind PTC — and only for two weeks — generates nothing but more uncertainty for these businesses that employ thousands of Coloradans,” Bennet added.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) wants to rebuild his state’s transportation infrastructure and plans to charge carbon emitters in order to come up with the funds. The governor is rolling out a proposed state budget in stages this week and is expected to speak to the design and implementation of a state carbon fee today. But details released about funding for the transportation sector yesterday indicate that about a third of the $12 billion needed to rebuild roads and bridges would come from a fee levied on the state’s biggest polluters. It’s transportation pollution paying for transportation choices,” Inslee said, speaking at the proposal’s release.
Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday laid out an ambitious plan for cutting Washington’s carbon emissions that would vault the state to the forefront of global efforts to combat climate change. The sweeping proposal drew cheers from a crowd of environmentalists, labor leaders and other supporters on hand for Inslee’s climate-plan unveiling at Seattle’s flagship REI store. But a tougher crowd waits in Olympia. Republicans and some business groups are already mustering opposition to Inslee’s cap-and-trade plan, which would put a price on the greenhouse gases spewed not only from large industrial plants but also car and truck tail pipes and electric utilities.
People who own all-electric cars where coal generates the power may think they are helping the environment. But a new study finds their vehicles actually make the air dirtier, worsening global warming. Ethanol isn’t so green, either. “It’s kind of hard to beat gasoline” for public and environmental health, said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. “A lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean … are not better than gasoline.”
“Nebraska has some of the best wind in the country but a surprisingly low amount of wind generation installed and under development,” said Brattle principal Judy Chang, a co-author of the study. “Nebraska policy makers and legislators have been working to increase the attractiveness of the state to renewable energy developers. They have already reduced some barriers, including those related to limiting public power condemnation rights. We anticipate that Nebraska policy makers will consider the options laid out in our report to make decisions about further improving the economics and regulatory setting for renewable development.”
The wind and biofuel industries in Iowa will benefit modestly from a $41 billion package of tax breaks passed by the Senate late Tuesday, but only through the end of 2014. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the package of nearly 50 tax breaks, which passed by a vote of 76-16. The legislation would reinstate production tax credits for wind power, cellulosic ethanol and a $1-a-gallon credit that helps the biodiesel industry for a year. But the tax breaks, which are retroactive to when they expired at the beginning of the year, will be in place for only about two more weeks, providing little assistance to groups and producers in Iowa.
“This sort of technology is really important to the future of energy,” said Vincent Thornley, head of Siemens’s U.K. smart-grid research, in an interview. “Rather than building new cable networks and putting in new transformers, we can make better use of” existing systems by using automation. A four-year trial for the system ends this month in northeast England. It complements the $15 billion investment Buffett has already made in wind and solar power in the U.S. that he said in June he’s ready to double. His MidAmerican Energy Co. is the largest U.S. owner of wind capacity among rate-regulated utilities.