Policy shifts could spur lagging U.S. offshore wind development — report

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, September 12th, 2016

There are many challenges to overcome in the United States, including bringing down costs and developing a viable supply chain. The regulatory process “could be further optimized, and data gaps associated with environmental impacts need to be addressed,” the report says. Last year, DOE’s “Wind Vision” study concluded that 86 GW of offshore wind deployment by midcentury could reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid $50 billion in “global damages.”

Energy Dept., Interior Announce Plan to Advance Offshore Wind Development

Source: By ASHA GLOVER, Morning Consult • Posted: Monday, September 12th, 2016

A plan published by the Energy Department and the Interior Department could help enable 86 gigawatts of offshore wind energy production and support 160,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2050, the departments announced Friday. According to the plan, almost 80 percent of U.S. electricity demand is located in coastal states and offshore wind energy technical potential is equal to about two times the U.S.’s electricity demand. In order to tap into the benefits of offshore energy, the plan says the U.S. must reduce the costs and technical risks associated with offshore wind development, provide regulatory certainty and mitigate the environmental risks of offshore wind development, and increase the understanding of the costs and benefits of offshore wind energy.

Sunshine State’ or Not, Florida Badly Behind on Solar Power

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Residents of the Sunshine State are finding that harnessing Florida’s abundant solar power is no simple task. With its bounty of sunny days, Florida ranks third in the nation in rooftop solar energy potential but 13th in the amount of solar energy generated, according to industry estimates. The industry views Florida as a sleeping giant that could rival California in solar potential, but renewable energy experts say the state lags behind because old laws favor utilities over private enterprise.

Conferees outline priorities in first meeting

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

House and Senate energy reform conferees signaled a willingness to bridge the many differences between their respective bills today. At the same time, they outlined a laundry list of competing priorities for a final agreement. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is leading the first formal energy conference since 2005, pledged to use the same “open and bipartisan manner” that she and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) used to assemble and pass the upper chamber’s bill, S. 2012, with broad bipartisan backing in April.

Split inside solar industry spills into the open

Source: Rod Kuckro, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

A long-simmering rift in the U.S. solar industry has become public just days before thousands of industry participants gather in Las Vegas for the largest solar trade show in North America. The campaign calling for a change in governance of the Solar Energy Industries Association by unhappy executives of distributed generation companies also comes at a time when the trade group is looking for a successor to the lobby’s longtime president and CEO, Rhone Resch, who left at the end of May.

Ohio Supreme Court strikes down challenge to wind-farm approval

Source: By Dan Gearing, The Columbus Dispatch • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a challenge of the way state officials approved a wind farm in Champaign County. In a unanimous ruling released on Wednesday, the court found that the Ohio Power Siting Board was proper in the way it approved revisions to a proposal for the Buckeye I wind farm. But there remains a separate pending appeal that is delaying construction of the project.

Governor Brown signs landmark climate bill

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) will signed a bill yesterday enshrining greenhouse gas targets in the nation’s most populous state through 2030. The measure, S.B. 32 by state Sen. Fran Pavley (D), would require the state to reduce its carbon emissions to 40 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2030, the most aggressive target of any state.

Energy storage projects grow at record levels

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

The U.S. energy storage sector is on track to notch another record growth year in 2016, spurred by government backing, rising utility investment and the scaling of storage systems to provide backup power over longer periods, new industry data show. The United States deployed 41.2 megawatts of energy storage capacity during the second quarter, up 126 percent from the previous quarter and slightly higher than the same quarter of 2015, according to data released yesterday by GTM Research.

Expiring tax breaks threaten baseload power — groups

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

Renewable energy interests are once again scrambling to extend a key tax incentive that will expire at the end of the year. In a letter sent to House and Senate leaders yesterday, the National Hydropower Association, American Biogas Council, Biomass Power Association and Energy Recovery Council called for lawmakers to take “immediate action” to extend tax breaks that will expire Dec. 31.

Promoters of cleaner electric grid zapped by roadblocks

Source: John Fialka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

In the West, it can involve as many as nine federal agencies. States sometimes delegate their role to multiple agencies. Even counties can get involved in the deliberations. The upshot is that going through the legal hoops and keeping investment capital at the ready for several of the proposed lines has set back construction for years. Congress tried to solve this problem in 2005 and failed. In 2011, the Obama administration, which supports many of the projects, picked seven pending interstate AC and DC power lines, promising to push them through this bureaucratic mess by forming a “rapid response team for transmission.”