Murkowski plans to start moving broad bill next week

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

After months of hearings and discussion over more than a hundred bills, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said today she anticipates her committee will begin marking up a comprehensive energy package next week. “We are pretty much on track,” she told E&ENews PM this afternoon. “We’re hoping we’ll be able to keep our schedule for markups next week and the following week. That’s the plan.” The committee will hold four markups over two weeks to meet Murkowski’s goal of completing the bill before the August recess. Each markup will focus on one of the four titles of the bill, which addresses infrastructure, supply, accountability and efficiency.

Amazon Hires Iberdrola to Build Wind Farm for Cloud Data

Source: By Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Online store Amazon said it has contracted Spanish utility Iberdrola to build and manage a wind farm in North Carolina, United States, to power its current and future cloud data centers. Amazon affiliate Amazon Web Services (AWS) said on Monday the wind farm would be operational by December of next year, putting it on track to surpass a goal for 40 percent its electrical grids to be powered by renewable energy by end-2016.

U.K. study projects a severe and costly downside if Paris climate talks fail

Source: Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

As diplomats try to piece together a complicated new global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a sweeping new study out by the U.K. government today takes a hard look at what could happen if they fail. The worst-case scenario assessment of what a world in which global average temperatures climb far above the threshold considered safe warns of crop deterioration to in the midwestern United States, chronic water shortage along the Tigris-Euphrates River Basin, and 100-year flood events becoming 40 times more likely in Shanghai and 200 times more likely in New York.

Australia blocks government funding for wind farm

Source: By By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

The Australian government is blocking the country’s $7.4 billion renewable energy fund from investing in wind power. Officials in Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government have instructed the country’s Clean Energy Finance Corp. to change its investment strategy and move away from wind power, Bloomberg Business reports.

Abbott said the fund should be “investing in new and emerging technologies and certainly not existing wind farms.” Abbott eventually wants to abolish the renewable energy fund altogether.

Southwest lawmakers seek tribal access to tax credits

Source: Dylan Brown, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today debuted legislation to open up renewable energy tax credits to Native American tribes. While the Senate scrambles to extend tax incentives for the expanding alternative energy sector, Heinrich and Grijalva offered their bills to give federally recognized Indian tribes access to breaks offered under Section 48 of the tax code. Tribes are cut out under the current system because they are not tax-liable entities, a requirement to receive the benefit.

In key case, judges uphold Colo. renewable energy standard

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

“[A]s far as we know, all fossil fuel producers in the area served by the grid will be hurt equally and all renewable energy producers in the area will be helped equally,” he wrote. “If there’s any disproportionate adverse effect felt by out-of-state producers or any disproportionate advantage enjoyed by in-state producers, it hasn’t been explained to this court. And it’s far from clear how the mandate might hurt out-of-state consumers either.”

South getting its first big wind farm soon

Source: BY JASON DEAREN, ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

On a vast tract of old North Carolina farmland, crews are getting ready to build something the South has never seen: a commercial-scale wind energy farm. The $600 million project by Spanish developer Iberdrola Renewables LLC will put 102 turbines on 22,000 acres near the coastal community of Elizabeth City, with plans to add about 50 more. Once up and running, it could generate about 204 megawatts, or enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes. It would be the first large onshore wind farm in a region with light, fluctuating winds that has long been a dead zone for wind power.

Amazon backs NC’s 1st large-scale wind farm

Source: BY JOHN MURAWSKI, The News & Observer • Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

he world’s largest developer of wind-energy farms has teamed up with online retail giant Amazon to build a major wind farm in coastal North Carolina. Amazon, which is building a network of wind farms and also testing Tesla storage batteries, announced the project Monday. The Amazon Wind Farm US East, to be built in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties, will power the online retailer’s cloud-computing division, Amazon Web Services, as part of a corporate goal of achieving energy sustainability.

Obama admin presses Supreme Court to revive demand-response regs

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

The Obama administration on Friday urged the Supreme Court to reverse a lower-court ruling invalidating a major initiative to encourage reduced electricity consumption. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in court documents that the federal appeals court ruling misread the Federal Power Act and that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deserves deference in its interpretation of the law. At issue is FERC’s 2011 Order 745, which requires grid operators to compensate electricity users for committing to not use power at peak times at the same rate as the operators purchase electricity from generators.

Pacific NW smart grid project called a success as it concludes

Source: Colin Sullivan, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 13th, 2015

A five-year regional smart grid project spanning five states in the Pacific Northwest recently ended with a healthy note of optimism from the consultant that ran the pilot. Project leader Battelle, which oversaw the experiment for the Energy Department, praised the demonstration as one of the nation’s largest rollouts of a complex smart grid to date, noting a number of lessons learned on the ground both good and bad. The project was a $178 million affair involving 11 utilities; the Bonneville Power Administration; two universities; and multiple companies in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. It was funded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act through DOE along with matching funds from participants.