After years of effort, Deepwater Wind expects to complete the first offshore wind farm in the US later this year. Supporters say the project off the coast of Block Island is an important milestone that will bolster the growth of renewable energy. But debate continues about the cost of that energy for Rhode Island residents.
The Indiana governor’s office yesterday said the state would prepare a compliance plan if U.S. EPA’s rule limiting power plant carbon emissions is deemed legal. The comments came on the heels of an Indianapolis Star report saying the state would not develop a plan even if the disputed rule is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. That is not the case, according to a state official. “If the courts ultimately uphold the Clean Power Plan, the governor absolutely prefers a state plan,” Dan Schmidt, Indiana policy director for energy and environment, said in an email.
“I think it is part of a long transition that’s taking place, where people are only now starting to realize what the resources are in their states, and how fast they actually can make the transition,” said Rob Gramlich, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the American Wind Energy Association. “Wind is a new entrant in all of these places,” Gramlich said. “Almost all of it has been developed in the last 10 years, it’s relatively new, so, you know, and the utilities have been there for a hundred years or more, with their relationships with policymakers. That doesn’t change in a few years when a new technology comes in and enters the market.”
The state of Washington withdrew a plan today that would have set the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions from large facilities. In a news release, the Washington Department of Ecology said it would update the plan based on feedback. The agency said it would issue a new proposed rule in the spring. “We appreciate all the helpful and constructive feedback we have received from stakeholders,” Sarah Rees, Ecology’s special assistant on climate change policy, said in a statement. “We’re listening and being responsive to the ideas on how to best move the rule forward.”
Washington could become the first state in the nation to impose a direct tax on carbon emissions from fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline and natural gas. A ballot measure before the state Legislature would create a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton of fossil fuel emissions burned in Washington, while reducing taxes. Lawmakers have until the end of the session on March 10 to enact Initiative 732, offer an alternative proposal or automatically pass the carbon-tax measure to voters in November as written. It’s not clear whether lawmakers will approve an alternative by the end of the session.
President Obama on Friday used a visit to a high-technology battery plant in Florida to argue that the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subsidies he signed into law during his first days in office had bolstered the economy, transformed the nation’s energy sector, and positioned the United States for a strong rebound. But Mr. Obama’s trip to the Saft America factory here, opened in 2011 with a $95.5 million investment from the Department of Energy, also highlighted the challenges that have tempered the economic recovery and the difficulty that the president has had in claiming credit for it.
The United States is racing toward achieving the goals of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), even as the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia raises the prospect of a deadlocked Supreme Court ruling. Achieving CPP carbon-dioxide emissions targets 14 years ahead of schedule is now likely thanks to a remarkable confluence of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies each achieving affordability after decades of developments.
The United States won a ruling against India at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday after challenging the rules on the origin of solar cells and solar modules used in India’s national solar power program. In a statement, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office called the ruling a significant victory that would hasten the spread of solar energy across the world and support clean-energy jobs in the United States.
U.S. EPA doesn’t think a conservative legal group should be allowed to file documents in federal court alleging that lobbyists improperly helped write the agency’s Clean Power Plan. The Energy & Environment Legal Institute told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday that EPA’s controversial greenhouse gas rule for power plants should be sent back to the drawing board because the agency crafted provisions of the plan through “backdoor dealings” with environmental lobbyists
A new report predicts that the elimination of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan could mean that by 2025 a whopping 50 gigawatts of potential renewable energy generation could go unrealized, despite Congress’ recent extension of wind and solar tax credits. “The tax extenders alone provide a bigger medium term boost to renewables than just the [Clean Power Plan], but not as big as with both policies in place,” states the report, released today by the Rhodium Group.