Despite spending his life in a public power state – Nebraska’s power generation has come from public utilities since the 1930s – Buffett said there’s a certain irony in that particular business model being not only a source of pride for the state, but also a source of cost. “The wind doesn’t start blowing at the Missouri River. That wind could be captured in Nebraska and so far it really hasn’t been,” Buffett said. The costs to Nebraska ratepayers – and others in states served by utilities with lesser renewable portfolios than BHE? Money from their bank accounts for higher rates in addition to potential jobs and economic development. Companies like Google and Facebook have planted server farms in Iowa because of that state’s share of renewable energy, Buffett said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) set another tentative procedural vote for 1:45 p.m. But leaders of both parties said nothing had changed since yesterday, when Democrats blocked an earlier effort to begin wrapping up debate. Another failed vote would leave the energy spending measure stalled as the Senate leaves tomorrow for a weeklong recess. It was the first test of a fragile accord among Senate leaders to try to pass as many spending bills as possible over the next 12 weeks.
For years Nebraska wind energy proponents have lamented the fact that the state lags so far behind its neighbors in producing wind power. Kansas and Iowa have installed four to five times the amount of wind energy capacity as Nebraska—even though Nebraska is consistently ranked among the top states for wind power potential. A new law seeks to change that. “It’s really a reduction of paperwork,” said Rich Lombardi, a lobbyist with the Wind Coalition, which represents wind developers and trade groups. Under the new law, private renewable energy developers no longer have to find a buyer for their power before they build the project, nor do they have to prove that their project won’t compete with other, more traditional energy sources (like a coal-fired power plant). Proponents say removing these regulatory hurdles will make Nebraska more competitive for wind development.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) confirmed yesterday that discussions continued on reviving the energy-water bill but said the failed cloture vote didn’t portend well for efforts to rein in the wayward appropriations process. “I hope it’s a temporary glitch because, I mean, if we can’t get this appropriation bill done, it doesn’t bode well for the future, and I think there seemed to be a bipartisan agreement that we need to get our work done on these appropriations bills and avoid a year-end omnibus appropriation,” he told E&E Daily. “I’m still hopeful we can work out those differences.”
For 11 years, Derrick Terry has powered his home off a 1.6-kilowatt solar photovoltaic-wind hybrid generator that produces enough electricity to light his home and refrigerate his family’s perishable food in a remote region of the sprawling Navajo reservation. Terry, a renewable energy specialist with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and a member of the tribal nation, and his family are one of more than 200 on the 27,000-square-mile reservation who rely on the units to generate power in its most remote areas.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced a bill this week to boost distributed solar power on rooftops and other decentralized sources. The bill would provide a 20 percent increase in the current investment tax credit for small solar systems under 20 kilowatts. The measure is the latest push to expand renewable tax credits that were extended last year.
Much was made a few months ago about the historic climate agreement in Paris. Much is being made now about the race for the U.S. presidency. The two intersect on the question of whether the next president will build on President Obama’s climate plans or backslide on the progress Mr. Obama has managed against global climate change. But while the spotlight is on this year’s extraordinary race to the White House, America’s ability to keep its commitments in the Paris agreement and to build a 21st century energy economy depends largely on states and communities far beyond the beltway.
U.S. EPA today rolled out more details on how the agency would award early credit to states that take certain steps to cut carbon before the federal rule to curb power plant emissions takes effect in 2022. The agency has sent a proposal on the Clean Energy Incentive Program, or CEIP, to the Office of Management and Budget for review.
At a discussion among state regulators and lawmakers yesterday, several officials said the Supreme Court’s decision in February to stay implementation of the federal climate regulation has not blocked broader discussions within states about decarbonizing their power sectors. “Even those states that have pressed pause per se are still having discussions about what life will look like under a carbon-constrained [future],” said Alexandra Dunn, executive director of the Environmental Council of the States, which represents state environmental commissioners.
The Swedish furniture giant better known for cheap furniture and aromatic cinnamon buns has a new item on the shelves: solar panels. In a partnership with Solarcentury, Ikea will begin selling the panels to its U.K. customers this summer, both online and at three locations, to start out. The move comes as the United Kingdom is weakening its subsidies for solar. Still, Ikea is moving ahead with its plan, its second attempt to sell panels in the United Kingdom after an earlier partnership with Chinese company Hanergy, which ended last year.