News

President’s Drive for Carbon Pricing Fails to Win at Home

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Monday, September 29th, 2014

President Obama stood in the chamber of the United Nations General Assembly last week and urged the world to follow his example and fight global warming. But a major new declaration calling for a global price on carbon — signed by 74 countries and more than 1,000 businesses and investors — is missing a key signatory: the United States.
The declaration, released by the World Bank the day before Mr. Obama’s speech at the United Nations Climate Summit, has been signed by China, Shell, Dow Chemical and Coca-Cola. It calls on all nations to enact laws forcing industries to pay for the carbon emissions that scientists say are the leading cause of global warming.

Inside The $8 Billion California Wind Energy Project

Source: by Tina Casey , Clean Technica • Posted: Monday, September 29th, 2014

Our friends over at Fuel Fix have the scoop on a proposed $8 billion California wind energy project that could blow the socks off the regional renewable energy market. The idea would be to use Wyoming as a site for a new wind farm — which would be one of the largest in the US — and schlep the energy over to Los Angeles on new and existing transmission lines. But, that’s not what caught our eye. The key to the $8 billion California wind energy project, the thing that helps fulfill the Los Angeles vision of a sustainable, secure energy source, would be a massive compressed air energy storage system using salt caverns in Utah.

Lack of permanent chair no sign of diminished CEQ status — acting chief

Source: By Colin Sullivan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 26th, 2014

The acting chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality isn’t sure if the “acting” part of his title will be removed anytime soon. Moreover, acting CEQ chief Michael Boots doesn’t think the question is all that important. “Nobody inside that building is concerned about whether it’s ‘acting’ or not,” said Boots, in reference to the White House, in a brief interview here.

Interior unveils competitive leasing rule to guide development on federal lands

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 26th, 2014

The Interior Department today unveiled a major new proposal establishing a competitive leasing process for renewables projects that it said should spark commercial-scale project development inside more than a dozen solar energy zones across the West. The proposed rule unveiled today by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is meant to advance President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which has challenged Interior to approve an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy on federal lands by 2020.

Wind Energy Proposal Would Light Los Angeles Homes

Source: By MICHAEL R. BLOOD and MEAD GRUVER Associated Press   • Posted: Friday, September 26th, 2014

An alliance of four companies proposed an $8 billion project Tuesday that within a decade could send wind power generated on the plains of Wyoming to households in Southern California. If approved and financed, the sprawling venture would produce clean power equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power plant by creating one of the country’s largest wind farms near Cheyenne, a huge energy storage site inside Utah caverns and a 525-mile electric transmission line connecting them.”This would certainly be one of the most ambitious and expensive energy infrastructure projects we have seen,” said Travis Miller, an industry analyst for investment research giant Morningstar Inc. “Energy storage, paired with renewable energy, has been the holy grail of utilities and energy companies.”

Lawsuit challenges BIA’s approval of Calif. project, citing harm to eagles

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

A conservation group and two private landowners are suing the Interior Department and the agency’s Bureau of Indian Affairs for approving the expansion of a California wind farm in alleged violation of environmental laws and despite objections from federal and state wildlife officials who warned of significant impacts to eagles.

Texas should end handouts to wind power — comptroller

Source: Edward Klump, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Susan Combs, Texas’ comptroller of public accounts, said the state needs to take a more market-based view of electricity and focus on making it reliable and affordable. Her office issued a report yesterday on Texas power that called for an end to tax breaks and subsidies for certain new generation. “It’s time for wind to stand on its own two feet,” Combs said in a statement. “Billions of dollars of tax credits and property tax limitations on new generation helped grow the industry, but today they give it an unfair market advantage over other power sources.”

U.S. utility unveils largest battery system in North America

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

One of the nation’s largest utilities today unveiled the biggest battery system in North America, which will store energy generated by wind farms outside Mojave, Calif., and provide critical information for the design and operation of storage on the grid. Southern California Edison (SCE) financed the 32-megawatt-hour battery system that cost $50 million, half of which was funded by a 2009 smart grid stimulus grant from the Energy Department, according to the company. The demonstration project will test the performance, integration and automation of a lithium-ion battery storage system and “smart inverter” technology into the grid over a two-year period, Doug Kim, director of advanced technology at SCE, said in a statement.

Renewable energy: Wind power tests the waters

Source: By Gene Russo, Nature • Posted: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Other countries, such as Belgium, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Germany, have built massive turbine farms off their coastlines in the past few decades. In the United States, however, efforts to tap the power of coastal winds have gone nowhere because of environmental concerns, bureaucratic tangles and political opposition. That may soon change. Ecological studies indicate that carefully planned wind farms should not significantly harm birds or marine mammals. And business and politicians are increasingly interested in exploring and investing in offshore wind power.

Calif. desert plan draws criticism from wind industry, parks group

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

And representatives of the California Wind Energy Association issued a strongly worded statement condemning the draft DRECP and its approach to wind power development in the desert. The draft plan, among other things, calls for establishing 2 million acres of “development focus areas” within the planning area that are deemed suitable for commercial-scale renewables development or transmission line projects. Proposed projects in these designated areas would still undergo environmental review, but the process would be streamlined because the areas have already been surveyed and studied, and mitigation requirements already established as part of the conservation plan.