Driving across the state of Iowa, there’s always been on sight you could count on seeing an abundance of: cornfields. But over the years, wind turbines have slowly become part of that trademark Iowa landscape, too, and Friday, Governor Terry Branstad announced we’ll be seeing a lot more of them. $280 million’s worth of them, to be exact. MidAmerican Energy is set to develop one new wind farm site in Adams County and expand a second site in O’Brien County in 2015. This comes after a $1.9 billion project announced in 2013.
The NAACP released a report last week linking energy policy and human rights issues. According to the report, 68 percent of African-Americans live within 30 miles of a coal power plant and suffer long-term health complications as a result of continued exposure to plant emissions. At the same time, only a small number of African-Americans actually hold energy jobs and share in the profits.
After more than three years of a concerted effort to woo private financing for large-scale renewable energy projects on its lands, the Army says it is hitting its stride. One example, leaders say: The Army recently turned a temporary energy initiatives task force aimed at smoothing the approvals process for renewable power projects into a permanent Pentagon office.Amanda Simpson, executive director of the newly established Office of Energy Initiatives, acknowledged that her job is still not easy.
Wind energy in Colorado has picked up some bragging rights in recent years, several times delivering more than half of electricity on Xcel Energy’s power grid while arguably rivaling coal mining in job totals. There are altogether 3,800 megawatts of generating capacity. Will this success, like the winds that often scour the eastern plains, die down?
In the ongoing debate about Oklahoma’s wind industry and whether it needs stricter regulation, two types of property owners have been the most vocal: those who hate the idea of turbines next door, and those eager to lease land to a wind company. But there’s a voice that’s been largely absent from the discussion so far: Landowners who have wind farms and like them.
Kerry said climate change is already changing the world in real and significant ways, from serious food shortages to increasing temperatures to the threat of rising sea levels. But those changes also bring the potential of millions of new jobs to develop the renewable energy industry, he said, provided the U.S. and the rest of the world act now. “We still have in our hands a window of opportunity to make the difference,” he said. “But the window is closing quickly. That is not a threat. That is a fact.” Kerry made the comments after touring a Boston wind technology testing center with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond, who echoed Kerry’s remarks.
The grid operator in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest staked a trail for demand response today that it says might avoid litigation expected in the wake of a federal appeals court’s torpedoing of a key federal electricity-saving program. PJM Interconnection outlined a new framework that it called a “trial balloon” for the participation of demand response in power markets. The proposal was released in a white paper yesterday. “We believe that structure creates a path to continue demand response participation in these markets,” Andrew Ott, PJM’s executive vice president for markets, told stakeholders and reporters today.
The Singapore-flagged tanker BW Zambesi set sail with little fanfare from the port of Galveston, Tex., on July 30, loaded with crude oil destined for South Korea. But though it left inauspiciously, the ship’s launch was another critical turning point in what has been a half-decade of tectonic change for the American oil industry. The 400,000 barrels the tanker carried represented the first unrestricted export of American oil to a country outside of North America in nearly four decades. The Obama administration insisted there was no change in energy trade policy, perhaps concerned about the reaction from environmentalists and liberal members of Congress with midterm elections coming. But many energy experts viewed the launch as the curtain raiser for the United States’ inevitable emergence as a major world oil exporter, an improbable return to a status that helped make the country a great power in the first half of the 20th century.
A federal judge has dismissed Nebraska’s challenge to U.S. EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas standards for new or modified power plants. Judge John Gerrard of the federal district court in Nebraska said the state’s challenge was premature because EPA has yet to finalize the limits. “The state has jumped the gun,” Gerrard wrote.
Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is calling for Congress to quickly extend dozens of expired tax breaks when it reconvenes next month, citing a letter from the head of the IRS warning that the agency may have to delay processing tax returns if Congress does not act one way or another by December. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen does not take a position on whether the package of tax breaks, collectively known as “tax extenders,” should be extended. But he says that Congress should decide one way or another within a couple of weeks of its scheduled return in November.