The debate over whether wind turbines proposed for bucolic Somerset County across the Chesapeake is not dead in St. Mary’s, or in Washington. Texas-based wind company Pioneer Green has plans to build 25 turbines, each potentially nearly 700 feet tall, near the bay shoreline. Meanwhile, Navy and industry leaders in St. Mary’s fear those windmills could interfere with sensitive radar tests done, in part, to determine the stealth of jet aircraft.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission once again granted its approval to a multimillion-dollar joint venture to develop wind-generation projects after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court overturned its initial approval and sent the case back for reconsideration. During deliberations Tuesday, PUC Chairman Thomas Welch said he did not see any reason why the joint venture between First Wind, Maine’s largest wind-power generator, and Emera Inc. of Nova Scotia, an energy distributor that owns two utilities in northern and eastern Maine, does not pass muster even under the court’s stricter guidelines.
A proposed wind farm in Lincoln County has led to controversy over the last few months. A Minnesota lawyer, representing an anti-commercial wind farm group know as WE-CARE South Dakota, went in front of the Lincoln County Commission Tuesday to talk about some concerns. The potential wind farm could have as many as 500 wind turbines built in Lincoln County. According to Dakota Plains Energy Principle Rob Johnson, the energy created here would generate electricity in up to 13 states. He says the area is great for producing wind energy, but others say the negatives outweigh the positives.
The role the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission played in preparing a proposed EPA rule to regulate carbon emissions at existing power plants as well as how the agency has determined the rule will affect electricity service will be the focus of a subpanel hearing next week, the Energy and Commerce Committee announced yesterday. The hearing is part of a series being held by the Energy and Power Subcommittee since EPA announced the draft Clean Power Plan on June 2.
Reid touted the role he said renewable energy had played in Nevada’s economic recovery after the 2008 recession. “Everyone knew that this state had a lot to gain from the clean energy future,” he said. “Those were bad, bad times for us. But what we needed was a catalyst to move things forward.”
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) this week plans advertising in Colorado and Iowa in support of Democrats facing two of this fall’s most hotly contested Senate races. The AWEA ads backing Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado and Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa, running to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D), come as both Democrats face increasingly heated attacks from their GOP challengers. Udall in particular sees near-daily pressure from his opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner (R), over proposed statewide ballot initiatives that could limit hydraulic fracturing.
The Regulatory Assistance Project has a new brief available on how to comply with section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. The authors lay out ten steps regulators can take now to prepare to develop an effective state implementation plan.
So much soot belched from the old power plant here that Mike Zeleny would personally warn the neighbors. “If the wind was blowing in a certain direction,” Mr. Zeleny said, “we’d call Mrs. Robinson down the street and tell her not to put out her laundry.” That coal plant is long gone, replaced by a much larger and cleaner one along the vast Saskatchewan prairie. Sooty shirts and socks are a thing of the past.
How should utility regulators in coal-heavy states be preparing for U.S. EPA’s proposed regulations for existing power plants? During today’s OnPoint, Sue Tierney, senior adviser at the Analysis Group, discusses a new report focusing on current state policies that could comply with EPA’s existing source regulations. Tierney, a former assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Energy, also gives a behind-the-scenes look at last week’s National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners summer meetings.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) called on his state to eliminate coal from its energy portfolio last week, challenging his constituents to advance already ambitious goals on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Speaking during the state’s Clean Energy Economy Summit, Dayton challenged policymakers and the energy industry to “tell us what a timeline [to end coal use] would look like, what has to happen for that timeline to be met and what kind of incentives or inducements do we need to provide to make that happen.”