The Department of Energy today doled out $8 million for the construction of new microgrid projects across the United States, part of the government’s Climate Action Plan and push to harden the grid against increasingly violent storms. The funds will support microgrid projects in Alaska, California, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee — systems that can detach from the U.S. grid, operate autonomously and continue to generate power should an attack or severe storm trigger widespread damage.
With legislative gridlock the rule rather than the exception in Congress for the foreseeable future, badly needed reforms in the way electricity markets operate are not on the horizon. Instead, federal and state regulators will “muddle through” trying to make outdated jurisdictional arrangements work even as advanced technologies and changing consumer preferences disrupt the industry, said Robert Nordhaus, a partner at Van Ness Feldman and formerly the general counsel of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as well as the Department of Energy.
Among the states surveyed, the lowest percentage of people who believe wind turbines cause health problems (7 percent) was in Iowa, a state that leads the nation in proportion of energy from wind. Meanwhile, the highest percentage believing such claims (21 percent) was in Wisconsin, a state which has far fewer wind farms and where some political leaders have in recent years been hostile to renewable and distributed energy.
Waist-high weeds and a crumbling old Chevy mark the entrance to a rust-colored factory complex on the edge of town here, seemingly another monument to the passing of the golden age of American industry. But deep inside the 14-acre site, the thwack-thwack-thwack sound of metal on metal tells a different story. “We’re holding our own,” said Greg Hess, who is looking to hire draftsmen and machine operators at the company he runs, Youngstown Bending and Rolling. “I feel good that we saved this place from the wrecking ball.”
A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will offer a preview tomorrow of comments being prepared for U.S. EPA by state regulators and agencies on the proposed federal rule for curbing power plants’ carbon emissions. The Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing is likely to survey the EPA proposal’s legal foundation, its effect on power supply and its likely cost along with a look at state concerns about implementation costs and the need for legislation.
Build-out of solar and wind power coupled with energy efficiency could help stabilize climate — study
Far from breaking the backs of U.S. businesses and taxpayers, the United States can cut energy-sector carbon pollution by 40 percent from 2005 levels and create 2.7 million jobs over the next 20 years by aggressively investing in clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, a new economic analysis has found. The findings, from the liberal Center for American Progress and the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, suggest that annual investment of $200 billion, from both the public and private sectors, would sufficiently tip the scales toward climate stabilization while actually growing the U.S. economy.
Former Secretary of State and widely anticipated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton set the table for a strong renewable energy platform in her appearance at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) clean energy summit yesterday. Clinton spread praise and encouragement far and wide, hailing Nevada’s, Texas’ and Iowa’s pursuit of renewable energy, highlighting the role of natural gas and sounding an optimistic note on global climate change negotiations.
A proposed offshore wind farm that was rejected by New Jersey earlier this year may yet see the light of day as the first active U.S.-based offshore wind plant following a series of key developments in August. At issue is a proposed 25-megawatt pilot project off the coast of Atlantic City from developer Fishermen’s Energy LLC. The proposal looked as if it was headed for the scrap heap in April when the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities rejected a motion to reconsider the project under guidance from the Republican governor of the Garden State, Chris Christie.
The U.S. Department of Energy released its Distributed Wind Energy Market Report earlier this week, detailing the state of the U.S. wind market. It outlines key facts and figures and provides a snapshot of what the market currently looks like. The first point of note is that the market is declining. In 2013, 30.4 MW of new wind capacity was added. This represents 2,700 units across 36 states including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This is an 83% decline from additions in 2012, though it remains in line with an overall 92% decline for the same time period.
The federal government’s social cost of carbon values is going on trial in Minnesota. Required by state law to establish a dollar value for the environmental damages caused by power plants carbon dioxide emissions, state utility regulators sent the contentious issue to an administrative law judge. If it plays out like it has so far, the case will pit advocacy groups that successfully petitioned the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to refresh outdated values for damages caused by CO2 emissions against utilities and big power users, which will try to poke holes in the methodology used by the federal interagency work group and experts.