News

How to fit a wind farm into your portfolio

Source: By Associated Press • Posted: Monday, August 4th, 2014

Analysts say they are a relatively safe way to invest in renewable energy — much safer, for example, than buying shares in notoriously volatile solar panel makers. Warren Buffet agrees. He’s invested $15 billion in the same type of wind and solar projects that yieldcos own, and he plans to double that amount.

White House hands gavel to LaFleur, as Bay stands by

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 4th, 2014

President Obama officially named Cheryl LaFleur today to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission until next April. The White House has designated Norman Bay to take over the chairmanship on April 15, 2015. LaFleur had been FERC’s acting chairwoman since the resignation of former Chairman Jon Wellinghoff last November. The unusual measure of having a chairman-in-waiting is the result of a tumultuous confirmation process for Bay, currently the head of FERC’s Office of Enforcement, and for LaFleur for a second term. LaFleur was officially sworn in this week. Bay still hasn’t been sworn in, according to FERC.

Tesla, Panasonic team up to build battery ‘gigafactory’

Source: Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press • Posted: Friday, August 1st, 2014

Tesla Motors Inc. and Panasonic Corp. are teaming up to build a battery manufacturing plant. The California-based electric vehicle maker and Japanese electronics giant will produce lithium-ion battery cells for EVs at a “gigafactory” in the United States, the companies said today.

Coal miners descend on Pittsburgh to protest EPA hearing

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 1st, 2014

Several thousand coal miners, other union workers and supporters flooded the streets here in opposition to U.S. EPA’s proposals to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Action in the streets, including a smaller presence by climate activists, overshadowed the agency’s daylong listening session on the regulations on the 13th and 15th floors of the federal building downtown. Police arrested more than a dozen union activists, including United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts for sitting in front of the building’s steps in protest.

Another Avenue to Reach Policy Makers: Taxicabs

Source: By ASHLEY PARKER, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The Sierra Club also has a history of zeroing in on the Metro station that makes the most sense for its current mission. When the State Department was considering the Keystone XL pipeline, the group placed ads in the Foggy Bottom station, near the department’s headquarters. When the House was holding up a bill on a tax credit for wind energy, the group ran ads in the Capitol South station, on the House side of the hill. “We’re bringing our message directly to where the decision makers, to where the influential, are,” said Melinda Pierce, the legislative director of the Sierra Club.

Germany gets more than a quarter of its electricity from renewable sources

Source: Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Germany is now getting 28.5 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass, said the utility lobby BDEW. According to the lobby’s preliminary estimates, the amount of power from wind increased by 21.4 percent, while solar rose by 27.3 percent.

Stanford researchers claim major breakthrough in lithium battery design

Source: Henry Gass, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, July 31st, 2014

A team of Stanford University researchers, including former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, believes it has achieved the “holy grail” of lithium battery design: an anode of pure lithium that could boost the range of an electric car to 300 miles. Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most common types of rechargeable batteries on the market today. But most of the batteries — found in technologies like smartphones and electric cars — use an anode made of graphite or silicon.

Witnesses rumble over EPA power rule’s consequences

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, July 31st, 2014

A House panel today tussled over whether U.S. EPA’s premier greenhouse gas rule is an illegal effort by the Obama administration to reshape the electric power system or a stimulus for new industries.Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), who heads a House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee, blasted the existing power plant proposal as a bid by EPA to “take control of our nation’s electric system without any legal or scientific justification.” “The rule has the potential to shut down power plants across the nation, raise energy prices and threaten energy security,” she said.

Grid reliability is among many FERC concerns about EPA carbon proposal — testimony

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

The proposed U.S. EPA rules to limit carbon emissions at existing power plants could require an overhaul of how grid operators line up electricity supply, causing significant confusion in power markets, according to federal energy regulators. Philip Moeller, a Republican commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, confirmed that switching electric markets to power dispatch based on lowest carbon emissions instead of the current system that is based on lowest-priced supply would require approval from FERC and “a complete redesign of markets to include essentially a carbon fee on any resources that emit carbon dioxide,” according to his answers to preliminary questions to the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Tony Clark, another Republican commissioner, made similar points in his preliminary answers.

Lawmakers spar on warming as EPA hearings heat up

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

The most important climate change hearing in town today will be held miles down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol Building, but the listening session on U.S. EPA’s marquee carbon rule is still drawing plenty of congressional interest. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a sponsor of the carbon dioxide cap-and-trade bill that cleared the House in 2009, will be among the first to testify on the existing power plant proposal this morning as the two-day listening session begins. Markey commended EPA in prepared remarks for a draft rule that he said would make sure “millions of Americans are healthier” and create jobs. But he blasted Republicans for attacking the rule on economic grounds.