News

More states consider boosting renewable fuel mandates

Source: Benjamin Storrow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Massachusetts and California lawmakers are contemplating proposals to go 100 percent renewable (Climatewire, March 13). Legislators in Nevada and New Jersey have laid out plans to get 80 percent of their power from low-carbon sources. Efforts in Connecticut and Minnesota, where policymakers are debating boosting renewable energy mandates to 50 percent, are relatively modest by comparison. In all, 10 states are considering an increase in renewable portfolio standards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Scientists are conspicuously missing from Trump’s government

Source: By Chris Mooney, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, March 16th, 2017

President Trump has moved to fill just one of 46 key science and technology positions that help the government counter risks ranging from chemical and biological attacks to rising seas, a Washington Post analysis has found. The vacancies in the 46 Senate-confirmed posts range from the president’s science adviser, to the administrators of NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The Post analysis was based on a listing of top federal science and technology positions compiled by the National Academy of Sciences, combined with an ongoing analysis by The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service of over 500 key Senate-confirmed government slots that must be filled.

Wind Power Takes to the Seas

Source: By Brian Dumaine, Fortune • Posted: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Certainly, the Republican-controlled Congress could decline to renew the subsidies that wind power now enjoys. The production tax credit, which is slated to phase out by 2020, helped the onshore wind industry become competitive and create 100,000 jobs, most of them in red states. Onshore wind doesn’t need the tax credit any longer, but why not extend it for offshore wind to help create more high-paying jobs more quickly? Even if Congress doesn’t come through, New York State is looking to provide some financial incentives for offshore wind. Says John Rhodes, president of Nyserda, the agency that oversees the state’s energy policy: “We want developers to come here with the certainty that they can build the wind farms and sell the power.”

Interior set to auction N.C.’s first offshore wind farm

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

The Trump administration will broker its first offshore wind energy deal this week as the Interior Department auctions development rights to 122,400 acres of the Atlantic Ocean near North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area, covering 191 square miles of outer continental shelf roughly 24 miles from the beaches where the Wright brothers achieved first powered flight in 1903, has an opening bid price of $244,810, or $2 per acre.

Maryland takes next step toward offshore wind

Source: By Sarah Gantz, Baltimore Sun • Posted: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Hearings starting Monday could determine whether Maryland becomes a leader in the development of offshore wind power in the United States. The Maryland Public Service Commission will begin what could be two weeks of hearings on proposals from two developers to build wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean off Maryland. The two developers are competing for up to $1.9 billion in subsidies over 20 years, paid for by the state’s electricity ratepayers, a crucial financing mechanism for developers to recoup the cost of building the massive wind farms. The commission is expected to decide whether to move forward with one by May 17.

Energy and manufacturing coalition: America can do better with its essential transmission infrastructure

Source: By David Ward, AWEA • Posted: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

“Just like highways and bridges, transmission is infrastructure that keeps the U.S. economy moving – and growing,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Investment in new transmission lines will modernize the U.S. grid and deliver more clean energy to population centers. This investment also will help to keep the lights on and costs low for American homeowners and businesses. Recognizing transmission as essential infrastructure is another way Congress and the administration can keep promises of advancing all forms of energy while growing U.S. energy independence.”

Broad coalition ask Congress to invest in America’s electricity grid

Source: By Greg Alvarez, AWEA • Posted: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

A diverse group of businesses from the energy, manufacturing, construction and environmental sectors sent a letter to Congressional leaders today calling for investment in America’s electricity grid. The coalition reminded lawmakers that ensuring reliable access to affordable electricity is necessary to keep business strong. Updating the country’s electricity grid to meet 21st century needs will play a key role making sure our economy continues to grow.

Tesla’s solar energy plant in Hawaii flips the ‘on’ switch

Source: By Stephen Edelstein, Christian Science Monitor • Posted: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Last year, Tesla announced a joint project with SolarCity to install a large battery farm and solar array in Hawaii. That project is now complete, and ready to provide electricity to a Hawaiian utility. Tesla, SolarCity, and partner Kauai Island Utility Cooperative unveiled the completed solar and energy-storage facility last week, reports the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

G-20 Poised to Signal Retreat From Climate-Change Funding Pledge

Source: By Joe Ryan, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Finance ministers for the U.S., China, Germany and other members of the Group of 20 economies may scale back a robust pledge for their governments to combat climate change, ceding efforts to the private sector. Citing “scarce public resources,” the ministers said they would encourage multilateral development banks to raise private funds to accomplish goals set under the 2015 Paris climate accord, according to a preliminary statement drafted for a meeting that will be held in Germany next week.

Oklahoma House votes to roll back tax credit for wind energy

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The Oklahoma House has approved legislation to roll back a state tax credit for the wind energy industry. The House passed the bill Thursday by a vote of 74-24 and sent it to the Senate for consideration. The bill modifies the tax credit for electricity generated by zero-emission facilities like wind turbines. It says facilities must be in operation by July 1 in order to qualify for the credit, instead of the current deadline of Jan. 1, 2021.