Billionaire Carl Icahn will advise Donald Trump on rescinding what the activist investor called “excessive regulation” on U.S. businesses, the president-elect’s transition team announced on Wednesday. Icahn will serve as a special adviser, not a federal employee, and he will not have specific duties, Trump’s team said in a statement. He will not take a salary, a transition aide said. The pick could draw scrutiny because Icahn, whose major investments include insurer American International Group and oil refining business CVR Energy, could help shape rules meant to police Wall Street and protect the environment.
Saudi Arabia’s long-awaited drive to free up more oil revenue by shifting to solar power generation is expected to pick up speed next quarter, according to local developers eyeing contracts. “I’m fully expecting within the first quarter 500 megawatts to come out in tenders and then it’ll ramp up,” said Paddy Padmanathan, the chief executive officer of Acwa Power International in Riyadh. “That will be a game changer for the region.”
As Beijing and more than 20 other cities in northern China have been plunged into another winter air-pollution crisis, with choking, toxic air and many people afraid to wander outside, observers wonder when China will start making significant progress on this problem. But there is some good news, namely that when it comes to clean air improvements, China probably is ahead of the historic pace of the U.S. at a comparable stage of economic development.
Leaders on both sides of the political aisle are calling for boosting U.S. manufacturing and investing in infrastructure. Developing a robust offshore wind-farm industry accomplishes these goals simultaneously. Offshore wind farms will revitalize American steel manufacturing, employ highly skilled American tradespeople and spur much-needed infrastructure investments in American highways, rails and ports.
Winds off the coasts of the United States are so dependably strong, turbines built offshore could produce four times the amount of electricity that’s currently generated from all sources in the country. At least, that’s what Norway’s biggest oil company is betting. Statoil, the fossil fuel cash cow that made Norway the world’s seventh richestcountry, won a $42.5 million bid last Friday to lease 79,350 acres of federal waters starting roughly 14 miles off the coast of Long Island. There, the company’s U.S. subsidiary plans to build a massive offshore wind farm to send clean energy back to New York City and its suburbs.
As the Obama administration prepares to leave office, it is seeking to underscore just how much has changed in the last eight years in the way we get energy — and to take some credit for it. Since 2008, costs for wind and solar have plunged by 40 and 60 percent, respectively, according to an analysis provided by the Energy Department. That’s even as the United States has installed 100 gigawatts, or billion watts, of generating capacity in the two technologies combined (75 gigawatts of wind, 25 of solar).
Sunlight in the northern deserts of Mexico is more intense than in the U.S. Southwest because of the lower latitude and more favorable cloud patterns. And construction and maintenance costs for solar plants in Mexico are substantially lower. Thus, building a long series of such plants all along the Mexican side of the border could power cities on both sides faster and more cheaply than similar arrays built north of the border.
Nine Senate Democrats, led by Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, called Friday for an investigation into a questionnaire sent by the Trump transition team to the Energy Department, asking for names of “employees or contractors” who attended United Nations climate change meetings under President Obama. The questionnaire was disavowed Wednesday by the Trump transition, which released a statement that it was “not authorized or part of our standard protocol” and that the individual who sent it had been “properly counseled.”
The Nemaha County Commission has given their approval for a wind farm project in the southern portion of that county. On Monday, the county commission adopted a resolution approving a conditional use permit and wind farm district. That decision came after a public hearing, where eleven county residents voiced both support and opposition to the project.
Saudi Armco plans to commission its wind turbine pilot project, the first in the kingdom, next month, the state oil company said on Sunday, part of nationwide plans to diversify energy supplies and to meet an increase in demand. The wind turbine, supplied by U.S. company General Electric (GE) will provide power to Saudi Aramco’s bulk plant in Turaif, in northwest Saudi Arabia.