The reason why offshore wind has not happened — even though the federal government says New Jersey’s coastline offers some of the best offshore wind resources — is a matter of dispute. At least a dozen developers have expressed an interest in building winds farms along the coast. To critics, however, the economics of offshore wind make little sense, particularly with historically low natural gas prices in a state burdened with some of the nation’s highest electric bills. A growing portion of the state’s electricity is produced by conventional natural-gas-fired power plants.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit will hear oral arguments Jan. 21 in a case that could pose a crucial test for whether state renewable energy mandates are constitutional, and could also have a significant impact on states’ ability to use their mandates to comply with EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) rule for existing power plants. The Denver-based court will hear arguments in the case, Energy & Environmental Legal Institute (EELI), et al., v. Joshua Epel, et al., where free-market groups are appealing a lower court ruling that upheld Colorado’s renewable electricity standard (RES) as constitutional.
Amazon Web Services is one of the largest providers of cloud computing services, with a long list of customers that includes names such as Johnson & Johnson, Dole, Siemens, and Netflix (as well as NBC Universal’s parent company, Comcast). The company already operates three carbon-neutral regions—one in Oregon, one in Frankfurt, Germany, and the AWS GovCloud region in the Northwestern United States. However, this is its first publicly announced wind farm, and the first major renewable energy project the company has announced since committing in November to power its cloud computing division with renewable energy.
“[T]oday, America is No. 1 in oil and gas. America is No. 1 in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008. And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump,” Obama said.
The Maine islanders, along with students from the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, had traveled to Samso to attend the academy and hear the Danes’ advice. If all went well, each islander would go home with a team of students dedicated to solving an energy problem using ideas borrowed from Samso. Beyond that, the planners hoped, new Maine island projects could become templates for broader adoption of renewable energy. Because of their particular geography, islands often lack the resources and infrastructures to meet their own needs. Fuel, like other necessities, is often imported — sometimes with great difficulty — and electric grids, when they even exist, are often underdeveloped or out of date, all of which leads to higher prices and less reliable service. With residents open to cheaper and better alternatives, islands are becoming seedbeds of innovation, living labs in which to test and refine technologies and approaches that are too new or expensive to establish on a mainland. And their small size makes the systems easier to manage and analyze.
But when Congress focuses on symbols rather than substance, everybody loses. The truth is that building Keystone is not economically essential to the U.S. (sorry Republicans), but stopping it is also not, in the view of many scientists, going to do a ton to save the climate (sorry greens). Either way, the last thing America actually needs is another Keystone debate. But there are really helpful things Congress could be doing instead to protect the environment and boost the economy. Here are four of them.
The Obama administration said a federal appeals court “seriously misinterpreted” the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s jurisdiction when vacating a high-profile demand response rule last year — and that the Supreme Court should review the case. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asked the Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court ruling that scrapped FERC’s Order 745, a rule the agency issued in 2011 that ordered demand response providers such as factories or commercial buildings to receive full market prices when they curtail electricity use.
“They say, ‘If you can do it in New York, you can do it anywhere,’ ” Mr. Outerbridge said. “And if you do it in Brooklyn, you can do it anywhere and you can be very cool.” The Sunset Park turbine can generate up to 100 kilowatts of electricity. Its predecessors in the city, which help power residential or smaller commercial buildings, including the Whole Foods store in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, are one kilowatt, and typically about 20 feet tall.
It’s critically important to give certainty to this vital industry in Colorado. And nationally, the wind industry accounts for more than 75,000 jobs in the country and roughly 5,000 in Colorado, and by some estimates around 2,600 in Weld County alone. So that’s what’s so critical about it. It’s not just about the windmills themselves. It’s about the entire manufacturing industry and the subcontractors who are part of that. Many of whom are right here in Colorado that need the certainty that an extension or some other signal will give them in order to move forward.
Nearly half of the nation’s governors have already laid out their priorities for climate change, and U.S. EPA’s rules lowering the power sector’s greenhouse gas emissions were far from an overarching theme. But several Republican governors used the regulation as a target. So far, no one has embraced the EPA rules. Two Democrats laid out aggressive climate change actions that would likely reduce greenhouse gas emissions far beyond their states’ Clean Power Plan goals.