12 governors tell Trump they can meet carbon goals

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Twelve Democratic governors today urged President Trump to continue U.S. involvement in the Paris Agreement, telling him their states are proof that cutting carbon does not mean sacrificing jobs or the economy. The governors of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington wrote to Trump, pointing out they are already seeing the impacts of climate change through rising sea levels, increased flooding, drought and extreme weather.

Trump puts critic of renewable energy in charge of renewable energy office

Source: By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, May 4th, 2017

President Trump has appointed Daniel Simmons, a conservative scholar who sharply questioned the value of promoting renewable energy sources and curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, to oversee the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), according to an email distributed to department employees. The selection marks one of several recent Trump appointments to top energy and environmental posts, which appear to repudiate the Obama administration’s policies aimed at shifting the nation to low-carbon sources of electricity. Last week, Trump nominated David Bernhardt, a lobbyist who served at the Interior Department under George W. Bush, as Interior’s deputy secretary. And Alex Herrgott, who had served as majority deputy staff director at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has joined the White House Council on Environmental Quality to serve as associate director for infrastructure.

Wind group fights back on Oklahoma incentives with ad campaign

Source: By Paul Monies, The Oklahoman • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

The battle of the airwaves over Oklahoma wind is heating up, with American Wind Action releasing ads on Monday countering an earlier ad campaign by the anti-incentive Windfall Coalition. The group plans to run ads on TV, radio and digital outlets for the rest of the month across the state. Calling it a “six-figure” ad buy, American Wind Action is targeting Harold Hamm, founder of Continental Resources Inc. and one of the backers of the Windfall Coalition. The ad also criticizes former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, who appears in one of the ads for the Windfall Coalition. Another ad features former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer.

Indiana governor signs bill aimed at dimming solar incentive

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

The benefit currently available to those who install solar panels will be sharply curtailed in the coming years, under a bill backed by Indiana’s powerful utility companies that was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday. Driven by the plunging costs for sun-generated power, investor-owned utilities across the U.S. are looking to carve out a share of the market. But critics contend the new Indiana law is part of a broader nationwide push to muscle out smaller companies.

Dems blast DOE study as biased toward coal, nuclear

Source: By Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

A group of Senate Democrats slammed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ongoing electric grid reliability study as biased toward power sources such as coal and nuclear. The Democrats, who all sit on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the study Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered last month appears from the outset to be designed to boost coal and nuclear energy at the expense of renewable sources like wind and solar energy.

Friction rises between state energy goals and power markets

Source: Benjamin Storrow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

“We need to be thinking about that world where the grid is powered primarily by renewables,” said Peter Fuller, vice president of market and regulatory affairs for NRG Energy Inc., a utility. “We need to be thinking about that as a different world from the fossil fuel input, heat rate world that we’ve dealt with for the last century or so. We need to think about what new products are necessary, how does that work in a market construct.”

Omnibus winners and losers

Source: E&E News staff • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

The legislation offers some good news for environmentalists, energy research and bipartisanship, but it also sends a warning to the Trump administration and reflects continuing Republican antipathy toward the Paris climate deal. Here are some winners and losers:

EPA, Clean Energy Spared Trump’s Ax in $1.1 Trillion Budget Deals

Source: By Ari Natter, Washington Post • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Environmental programs marked for death or deep cuts by President Donald Trump got a reprieve in the government funding deal revealed early Monday by congressional leaders — at least for now. The Environmental Protection Agency, targeted for $247 million in cuts for this year’s funding, instead escaped with a budget trimmed by $81 million — or 1 percent — and no staff reductions. Research divisions within the Department of Energy received increases despite calls by Trump to slash or eliminate them. For example, its advanced research program, which would have been cut in half under Trump’s 2017 spending plan, instead will get a $15 million increase in funding this year.

U.S. wind industry has biggest first-quarter installs in eight years

Source: By Nichola Groom, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

The U.S. wind industry installed 2,000 megawatts of capacity in the first quarter, nearly four times the amount installed in the same period last year, as developers race to capture a lucrative federal tax credit that is gradually being phased out. It was the industry’s biggest first quarter since 2009, the American Wind Energy Association said in its first-quarter market report released on Tuesday.

Iowa Governor Touts Friendship With Chinese President as Asset

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN/Progressive farmer • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and former running mate to Hillary Clinton, told Branstad he supports his confirmation and encouraged him to share Iowa’s renewable energy story with the Chinese. Kaine said the Iowa example shows it is possible to grow a clean energy economy while not hurting the economy. “You’ve had a pretty amazing track record,” Kaine said. “What you have done over the years is important to family farms. You can go there with a story. I think you can be an ambassador to the clean energy economy of tomorrow.”