For many years, the tradition has been that on midsummer afternoons, engineers will turn on what they call a “peaker,” a natural gas-burning power plant In Long Beach. It is needed to help the area’s other power plants meet the day’s peak electricity consumption. Thus, as air conditioners max out and people arriving home from work turn on their televisions and other appliances, the juice will be there. Five years from now, if current plans work out, the “peaker” will be gone, replaced by the world’s largest storage battery, capable of holding and delivering over 100 megawatts of power an hour for four hours. The customary afternoon peak will still be there, but the battery will be able to handle it without the need for more fossil fuels. It will have spent the morning charging up with cheap solar power that might have otherwise been wasted.
“He didn’t really discuss substantive … policy positions,” former Energy and Commerce Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) told Greenwire. Trump made “more of a generic statement than anything else.” Despite the lack of specifics in the meeting and on the campaign trail, Barton said he was comfortable with Trump because of the lawmaker’s close relationship with Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who has advised the campaign on energy issues.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) skipped a meeting with her party’s presumptive presidential nominee yesterday morning to work on the framework for an energy reform conference committee. Murkowski met Wednesday with ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to hammer out more plans. The two senators are working out “a process for how we can kind of get the conference going and started and kind of keep it moving along,” Murkowski said.
Republican lawmakers are likely to ask their party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, for more details about his energy policy plans during meetings on Capitol Hill today. Trump is scheduled to meet with House Republicans in the morning at the GOP’s headquarters near the Capitol. Senators will meet with the real estate mogul later in the morning at National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters.
The U.S. wind energy industry is the fastest-growing new source of electricity in the country. But it’s not resting on its laurels, especially in an election year. Hence the launch of American Wind Action, a group that will promote the benefits of wind energy to the public as voters consider whom to elect for the White House, Congress, state legislatures and other offices where public policy is made.
A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing turned into a partisan argument after a Republican called U.S. EPA “un-American.” Ohio Republican Rep. Bill Johnson made the remark during questioning of EPA acting air chief Janet McCabe, which prompted an outcry by Democrats. The Subcommittee on Energy and Power’s top Democrat, Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush, accused Republicans of “badgering” McCabe.
The United States has added twice as much natural gas and solar power to its electric grid compared with the same period last year, federal energy regulators say.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s energy infrastructure update says nearly 4,300 megawatts of new gas-fired generation came online from January through May of this year, compared with 1,796 MW installed during the same period last year. FERC also tracked the addition of almost 1,500 MW of solar power in the first five months of this year, compared with 679 MW in the same stretch last year. Other forms of generation were stagnant or in decline.
A Senate vote to launch negotiations with the House on energy reform legislation could happen as soon as this week. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski said this afternoon she hasn’t scheduled meetings with other lawmakers looking for a path forward. “Hopefully we won’t need any more meetings,” the Alaska Republican said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to just find time to go to a vote.”
The manager of California’s electricity grid is chasing windmills in Wyoming as a way to help the state meet its clean-energy goals. But some see the plan as a billionaire’s pipe dream, wondering: How will the California Independent System Operator achieve its goals by tapping an out-of-state company that produces 62% of its power from coal and 15% from natural gas? The company, PacifiCorp., is a subsidiary of Nebraska investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy. And it produces just a small fraction of the clean energy the state needs to reach its mandate of 50% renewable generation from sources such as wind and the sun by 2030.
The U.S. electric power grid is one of the biggest, most costly machines on Earth. Its value is somewhere in the trillions of dollars, and it currently delivers power to 334 million people in the United States and parts of Mexico and Canada. Its basic technology was settled over 100 years ago as a kind of one-way street that delivers electricity from a network of power plants to passive consumers. The National Academy of Engineering once rated the grid as the “supreme engineering achievement of the 20th century.” But starting about three years ago, the Obama administration realized that without a 21st-century technology boost, the grid might not be able to support its Clean Power Plan. The grid would have to perform more like a two-way street to provide renewable energy quickly enough to lower the risks of climate change.