The federal energy program that’s best-known for a failed loan to solar manufacturer Solyndra LLC is generating billions for the government and probably won’t be going anywhere under Donald Trump. The incoming president can’t unilaterally kill the U.S. Energy Department’s loan programs office. Only Congress can do that, with new legislation. And that’s doubtful, according to the program’s executive director and his two most recent predecessors, all appointees of President Barack Obama.
Vilsack had an urgent message, and he sensed that in Biden, he would find a receptive audience. The two politicians had served together throughout President Obama’s eight years in office and had known each other for decades. Both are nearing the ends of long and successful political careers, built on speaking to the ambitions and anxieties of white, working-class voters who turned decisively to Donald Trump in this election. “We need to speak more directly to our folks in rural America,” Vilsack recalled telling the vice president. “And we have to spend time there.”
By 2020, thanks to MidAmerican Energy’s planned $3.6 billion addition to its enormous wind turbine operations, 85 percent of its Iowa customers will be electrified by clean energy. Meanwhile, Moxie Solar, named the fastest-growing local business by The Corridor Business Journal of Iowa, is installing solar panels on my house, and is part of a solar industry that now employs 200,000 nationwide. Doomsday scenarios about the climate have abounded in the aftermath of the November election. But responsibility for effectively reining in carbon emissions also rests with business, and with the nation’s cities and states. Those are the battlegrounds. Worldwide, cities produce as much as 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
Maryland regulators could approve up to 870 megawatts of new offshore wind power capacity after two developers met an application deadline to build the state’s first ocean-based wind farms on the Atlantic outer continental shelf. The applicants include US Wind Inc., which plans to build up to 750 MW of wind power capacity roughly 12 miles east of Ocean City. If approved, the 187-turbine project would begin producing power in 2020, according to company officials.
More than 60 businesses testify against extending Ohio freeze on renewable energy, energy efficiency
The two-year battle over green energy standards has slammed the development of wind and solar, cost businesses a lot of money initially invested here and driven some companies out of the state, a crowd of green business proponents told Ohio lawmakers Tuesday. More than 60 witnesses showed up to testify before the Ohio Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. All were opposed to Senate Bill 320, sponsored by Sen. William Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican.
“There’s always a push for tax extenders, but I just think they want to start anew and see what they can do the first of the year,” Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said yesterday, referring to the coming administration of President-elect Donald Trump. “It’s up to Sen. [Mitch] McConnell, but I doubt it.”
Illinois’ high court will hear a long-running dispute over plans for a $2 billion high-voltage transmission line to carry wind energy from the Great Plains to the eastern U.S. grid. The state Supreme Court agreed last week to take the case after a request by Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners, a merchant transmission developer that is working to build the Rock Island Clean Line project from northwest Iowa to the PJM Interconnection LLC.
“Making matters even more contentious, energy-related politics are seemingly in flux,” the analysts said, and “adding to this discord have been commodity price volatility and technological improvements (cheaper renewables, high efficiency turbines, fracking) that have conspired to jeopardize coal’s role as the nation’s primary electricity-generating fuel.” Complicating the outlook, “there may be a more serious problem,” the report said, namely the failure of the United States to have a consensus on whether and how to combat climate change.
Legislators in particular will be re-examining the need for renewable portfolio standards to push zero-carbon power, Eick said. Without the specter of the Clean Power Plan, they may not feel the standards are necessary, he noted. Sick said it’s likely red and blue states will diverge more on the issue of renewable energy standards under a Trump administration. Members will also review a paper from the Consumer Energy Alliance looking at subsidies for rooftop solar power. They will hear a presentation on research into carbon capture from coal plants in Wyoming.
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has begun to arrive at U.S. EPA. In an agencywide email sent this afternoon and obtained by E&E News, Shannon Kenny, the agency’s transition director, told employees that “the Presidential transition is now underway at EPA.” Transition officials designated to handle EPA by the winning 2016 presidential nominee will now be meeting with agency leaders to help smooth over the changeover from the Obama administration.