The chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee sharply criticized members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today for rejecting a proposal that would have made it voluntary for utilities in the Pacific Northwest to pay for regional transmission projects under Order 1000, and vowed to take legislative action if the decision isn’t reversed. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) took issue with the commission’s 3-to-1 vote to approve a filing that ColumbiaGrid, a regional transmission planner, proposed to comply with Order 1000, a far-reaching rule the commission recently approved to revamp the way the grid is planned and paid for.
On the outskirts of Scunthorpe in northern England, workers at the large power station known as Keadby 1 are preparing to shut it down at the end of the summer, with the loss of about 40 jobs. Its owner, the British utility Scottish & Southern Energy, says fluctuations in global energy markets have made the natural gas power plant unprofitable despite a multi-million pound renovation, as demand for electricity has plummeted since the financial crisis.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is leaving the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee after securing a spot on the powerful Appropriations Committee. The Appropriations panel slot opened up due to the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) earlier this month.
A Danish pension fund has pledged to invest $200 million in the Cape Wind project, a long-delayed, 468-megawatt wind farm off Cape Cod, Mass., that hopes to begin construction by the end of the year. While the investment by PensionDanmark represents less than 10 percent of the project’s estimated $2.6 billion price tag, project owner Jim Gordon called it a “milestone” in the Massachusetts wind project’s decadelong development.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has recruited the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists to be his chief of staff. Kevin Knobloch has headed UCS for a decade, and in a statement today, he said it was a post he would leave only “for a call to public service of this order.”
In weather so warm that he removed his suit jacket, President Obama delivered a speech at Germany’s historic Brandenburg Gate this morning in which he called for “bold action” by every nation to fight the threat of climate change. “With a global middle class consuming more energy every day, this must now be an effort of all nations, not just some, for the grim alternative affects all nations: more severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise,” Obama said.
President Obama is preparing regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, senior officials said Wednesday. The move would be the most consequential climate policy step he could take and one likely to provoke legal challenges from Republicans and some industries. Electric power plants are the largest single source of global warming pollution in the country, responsible for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. With sweeping climate legislation effectively dead in Congress, the decision on existing power plants — which a 2007 Supreme Court decision gave to the executive branch — has been among the most closely watched of Mr. Obama’s second term.
At the intersection of clean power and information technology, a new breed of digital start-ups is harnessing the power of the Internet to make smarter, more efficient use of energy and other resources. Proponents call it “cleanweb,” and they say the sector is poised to bring about huge leaps in efficiency, saving money and cutting planet-warming carbon emissions. As its backers define it, cleanweb is any software or Internet application that makes it easier to use resources — like textiles or cars or electricity — more efficiently.
The Bureau of Land Management’s plan to route a transmission line from New Mexico to Arizona and through a pristine valley renowned for its biological diversity has sparked an intense debate among elected leaders, residents and conservation groups over the merits of the project and its potential environmental impacts.
The Energy Department will step up its focus on state and local needs to support a transition to a low-carbon economy, especially in developing the Quadrennial Energy Review, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said yesterday during a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing. “We are going to be developing the Quadrennial Review process with a much more regional, local focus,” Moniz said.