Renewable energy developers and wind industry groups yesterday voiced their support for a proposed $2 billion, 700-mile transmission line project in a series of letters to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Called the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, the project would funnel 3,500 megawatts of the Oklahoma Panhandle’s wind wealth to energy buyers in Arkansas, Tennessee and population centers in other Southeastern states. It is being developed by the Houston-based company Clean Line Energy.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is expected to sign a bill into law this weekend freezing his state’s renewable energy standard (RES) for two years, marking a victory for conservative state legislators and some industries that have opposed the policies. While the bill (S.B. 310) would not eliminate the RES, it would put the brakes on rules that mandate annual energy efficiency upgrades and encourage the growth of renewable energy. Provisions favoring in-state generation and a carve-out for solar energy would be permanently scrapped.
The coal-heavy state of Ohio rebelled against Barack Obama’s climate change agenda on Friday, becoming the first state to roll back measures promoting wind and solar power and energy efficiency. The bill signed into law by Ohio’s governor, John Kasich, puts a two-year freeze on measures requiring power companies to obtain some of their electricity from wind and solar power, and reduce demand for electricity. The move will make it harder for Ohio to meet new standards unrolled by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month cutting carbon pollution from power plants by a national average of 30%, by 2030, opponents of the new measure said.
Republican Gov. John Kasich on Friday signed into law a bill delaying the phase-in of the state’s renewable-energy and efficiency targets and repealing advanced-energy mandates put in place in 2008. The law puts a two-year hold on renewables targets in a compromise Kasich backed to avoid a full repeal being pushed in the state Senate. The thresholds, to be maintained at current levels next year and in 2016, resume in 2017 if the state Legislature fails to act. The law also creates a study panel of lawmakers to review the impacts of Ohio’s clean-energy standard and sets out that the Legislature’s aim is a permanent repeal.
Despite representing wind-heavy district, new majority leader likely to oppose PTC extension — source
The impending promotion to House majority leader for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican with a moderate reputation on energy policy who represents one of the windiest districts in the country, would at first seem like good news for clean energy supporters hoping to extend a key renewable electricity tax break at the end of this year. Not so fast. A source close to McCarthy told Greenwire he is not in favor of renewing the production tax credit, which expired at the end of last year. Extending the $23-per-megawatt-hour credit has been the top priority for wind, geothermal and other energy companies that warn their businesses could collapse without the credit.
Mike Boots should probably get comfortable in his seat in the White House’s Eisenhower Executive Office Building.He’s been acting chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality since February with no word from the White House about a replacement. And it looks like he’ll be sticking around for a while — potentially through the November elections and even into next year, according to sources tracking the position. “I have the sense that he’s well integrated into the new White House structure,” working with President Obama’s new counselor John Podesta and energy and climate adviser Dan Utech, said Clinton-era CEQ Chairman George Frampton. “So why buy more uncertainty on a confirmation delay right now? I would expect that come next January or February the issue may arise again, but in the meantime he’s acting and could conceivably stay.”
As the Obama administration and industry groups go to war over the costs of a high-stakes climate rule, the White House has released a new study showing that the benefits of major federal regulations vastly exceed the costs. Major rules issued by federal agencies over the past decade have estimated benefits between $217 billion and $863 billion per year, compared with estimated annual costs of between $57 billion and $84 billion, according to the recent draft report from the White House. Those estimates were reported using 2001 dollar values. The draft report notes that some rules are anticipated to produce far higher net benefits than others and that there’s substantial variation across agencies in the net benefits expected from new requirements.
The Sierra Club today announced an ad campaign targeting House Republicans in competitive races and accusing them of not doing enough to support wind energy development by extending a key renewable energy tax credit. And the League of Conservation Voters is launching an online advertising effort to urge support for U.S. EPA’s recently unveiled rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The efforts highlight the extent to which energy and environmental issues are likely to be a factor in November’s midterm elections and beyond. Supporters of the production tax credit (PTC), which expired at the end of last year, do not see an opening for Congress to reinstate it until a post-election, lame-duck session at the earliest, and even then, the prospects are uncertain. EPA’s power plant rule, meanwhile, has mobilized both sides of the climate fight with Republicans and some business groups reiterating accusations of a war on coal while environmentalists and their Democratic allies say the rule would benefit public health and the environment.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s acting chairwoman’s announcement yesterday that the agency intends to fight a court ruling that vacated a key demand-response rule has drawn less-than-enthusiastic reactions from FERC’s two Republican commissioners. Acting Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur said FERC will ask a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision that threw out FERC’s Order 745, which provided incentives for electricity users to consume less power, a practice dubbed “demand response.”
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee announced plans today to hold votes Wednesday on the contentious nomination for chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and a bill backing the Keystone XL pipeline. Negotiations between the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and committee members are continuing on the nomination of Norman Bay to lead FERC and acting Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur, whose term expires this month.