News

With first big wind purchase, Southern Co. continues steady march toward renewables 

Source: Kristi E. Swartz, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The Atlanta-based utility’s wholesale power unit, Southern Power, said last week it will buy a 299-megawatt wind operation in Oklahoma. Southern will not build, operate or maintain the project, nor will the company use any of the electricity generated from it. But the project is significant because it’s now Southern’s largest renewable energy-generating operation and the utility’s first major wind purchase. Buying the Kay Wind facility now — long after other utilities have jumped into wind — also demonstrates Southern’s desire not to go after something just because Wall Street likes it, analysts say.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad: The Digest interview

Source: By Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest • Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Much is happening, in biotech, agriculture and in pharmaceuticals. When I first came to office, we were a big energy importing state. Now, we are #1 in ethanol, a leading biodiesel producer, and we are only behind states like Texas and California in wind. But as a percentage of our power usage we’re way ahead, with almost 30% of our power from wind. And there are the new cellulosic plants like POET-DSM, and in Nevada, DuPont is going to open one before the end of the year.

Coalition Welcomes Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the Coalition’s New Leadership Team

Source: By Governors' Wind Energy Coalition • Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

“States continue to play a leading role developing the nation’s renewable energy resources, and capturing the jobs and economic benefits that these growing clean energy industries provide,” said Governor Inslee. “Washington state’s wind energy industry has attracted more than $5.7 billion in investment since 2001 – creating thousands of jobs, supporting our rural communities and reducing emissions from our electricity sector. I look forward to working with Governor Branstad and our Coalition colleagues to promote federal and state policies that will help the wind energy industry continue to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio.”

Laurence Tribe Fights Climate Case Against Star Pupil From Harvard, President Obama

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Laurence H. Tribe, the highly regarded liberal scholar of constitutional law, still speaks of President Obama as a proud teacher would of a star student. “He was one of the most amazing research assistants I’ve ever had,” Mr. Tribe said in a recent interview. Mr. Obama worked for him at Harvard Law School, where Mr. Tribe has taught for four decades.
Mr. Tribe went on to serve in the Justice Department during Mr. Obama’s first term and has argued in favor of the legal standing of Mr. Obama’s signature health care law and executive orders on immigration.

Branstad to co-lead wind coalition

Source: By Sioux City Journal • Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition on Monday named Washington Gov. Jay Inslee as the group’s new chairman and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as the coalition’s vice chairman. “States continue to play a leading role developing the nation’s renewable energy resources, and capturing the jobs and economic benefits that these growing clean energy industries provide,” Inslee said in a statement.

Document: A handbook for how states can incorporate renewables in compliance plans

Source: By Inside EPA • Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2015

“Renewable energy can provide large emissions reductions in a cost-effective manner when part of a balanced energy portfolio and provide significant positive economic returns to a state.” So say the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association in a new “handbook” for states to use in weighing how to include renewable energy in complying with the Clean Power Plan.

Obama vows to train 75K solar workers by 2020 

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2015

The White House today launched an initiative to provide military veterans with skills to join the solar industry as part of an overall goal of training 75,000 solar workers by 2020 — a 50 percent increase from a target set by the Energy Department a year ago.

Cheap oil prices chop jobs by thousands

Source: By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY • Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2015

Planned oil industry layoffs in the U.S. are approaching 100,000 in the past four months with more likely to come. Oil-producing states such as North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are catching the brunt of the cutbacks just as consumers are enjoying cheaper gasoline prices brought on by the 55% drop in crude oil prices since last June. “The entire Midwest from Texas to North Dakota is really feeling the effects,” says Moody’s Analytics economist Aaron Smith.

Senate bill in the works to expand FERC’s authority to site power lines 

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2015

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) will introduce legislation in the coming months to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority to override state resistance to certain power line projects. The proposal would give FERC the authority “as a backstop in the rare case where states have been unable to act on priority projects” that have been selected as part of FERC’s regional transmission planning process under Order No. 1000, Heinrich told attendees at a Southwestern summit on renewable energy transmission development yesterday. Heinrich’s bill could revive a years-long controversy over how much power the federal government should have to issue construction permits for transmission development when a state withholds approval.

Top DOE official previews high-profile infrastructure report 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 6th, 2015

While Kenderdine offered few specifics about the report, she outlined the agency’s focus on the challenges the United States’ power lines, railways, pipelines and power plants are facing from a surge of increasingly violent weather, age, competing interests and shifting trends with the discovery of shale gas. DOE has held 14 stakeholder outreach meetings across the country, as well as a meeting in Canada and a conference call with officials in Mexico to discuss the QER.