Speculation continues to fly over a deal that would lift the oil export ban while extending renewable tax credits. One key industry lobbyist last week said it could hitch a ride on an end-of-year budget deal. After cloistering himself at home for the past week to mull over the possibility, the Wisconsin Republican is “seriously considering” launching a bid to replace the retiring Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) as speaker, CBS News reported yesterday, citing “those close to him.”
T. Boone Pickens made billions drilling for oil and gas and squaring off in bare-knuckled corporate takeover bouts. Now the 87-year-old tycoon is embroiled in what may be the last big battle of his career. Only this one is aimed thousands of miles north of his Texas home. And it is over wind power.
The joint stance at a time when all companies are struggling with a sharp drop in oil prices also highlights a deep rift with U.S. oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron, who stayed away from the initiative. The chief executives of Total, Britain’s BP and BG Group, Italy’s Eni, Norway’s Statoil, Spain’s Repsol, Saudi Aramco and Pemex will again call for a global pricing system on carbon, which they say will give an economic incentive for the private sector to use cleaner sources of energy and to develop new technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).
California will drop all investments in coal under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed yesterday, one of several energy and environment measures he enacted. S.B. 185 from Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Kevin de León requires California’s public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, to divest from thermal coal holdings. The Golden State will be the first in the United States to do so, a de León statement said.
In a release made public after the remarks, the governor’s office added that the administration will pursue a linkage between the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade system that involves eight other Northeastern states, and California’s carbon market, which is also linked to the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. “Connecting these markets would be more cost-effective and stable, thereby supporting clean energy and driving international carbon emission reductions,” the release stated. “New York State will also engage other states and provinces to build a broader carbon market and further drive an international discussion that encourages government action on carbon emissions.”
Some 14 billion pounds of potential investment in renewable energy projects in Scotland is under threat because of cuts in subsidies by the British government, Scotland’s energy minister said. Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Business, Energy, and Tourism minister, said figures from Britain’s Energy and Department for Climate change showed companies had indicated they could invest around 14 billion pounds in renewable projects such as wind farms, in Scotland.
Heads of 11 companies that generate a third of the world’s electricity urged governments on Sunday to agree clear, long-term policies to underpin a shift to lower-carbon energy as part of a U.N. agreement on climate change due in December.They also issued a report about how new technologies can both raise electricity supplies and limit greenhouse gases. These included more-efficient solar power, sea-based floating wind turbines and methods to capture emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Wind gusts Sunday in two Montana cities reached as high as 72 miles per hour, but except for a damaged wind turbine at Billings’ City College campus, damage was moderate. “We didn’t really get a lot of damage reports, which is kind of odd,” said Marc Singer, science and operations officer for the National Weather Service. “It was obviously a really windy day.
A Republican operative-turned federal judge has emerged as one of the most powerful critics of President Obama’s environmental rules. Judge Brett Kavanaugh — a 50-year-old George W. Bush administration appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — has pounded the administration in a series of legal opinions rebuffing some of its most high-profile air pollution rules. And because he’s widely seen as an influential voice with Supreme Court justices and a leading contender for a GOP nomination to the high court, Kavanaugh’s legal moves are being closely watched by those on both sides of the environmental debate.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz pledged today that his department will spend the next 15 months doing everything it can to improve U.S. energy efficiency, both by promulgating rules and by modernizing the power grid. “We are scheduled to roll out more than 20 additional efficiency rules in the remainder of this administration, kind of driving the system to the breaking point,” Moniz told a Washington, D.C., hotel ballroom full of smart grid experts. “But we think it’s really important to go there.”