News

Trump Treasury pick backs wind credit — for now

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin voiced support for keeping the federal tax credit for wind intact during the first several years of the Trump administration. At his confirmation hearing, Mnuchin was asked by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) whether he supported the current phaseout of the production tax credit for wind, which is not supposed to expire entirely until 2020. “As we discussed, Congress has effectively put in place transition rules for some alternative energy, including wind,” Grassley said to Mnuchin in front of the Senate Finance Committee. “Based on our conversation, I believe we are in agreement that you would support the current phaseout. Mnuchin responded, “I absolutely agree with you that we do need to have phaseout rules when we change things. … I support the phaseout of that as you suggested.”

Trump’s regulatory freeze halts four Obama rules aimed at promoting greater energy efficiency

Source: By Chris Mooney, Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Nearly simultaneously with President Trump’s oath of office Friday, the White House website shifted to remove climate change related content from the Obama administration and supplant it with a new statement of Trump’s energy policy — one focused, it said, reducing “burdensome regulations on our energy industry.” Those are just words — but an action hours later by White House chief of staff Reince Priebus had more teeth. Priebus’s memorandum, issuing a governmentwide freeze on new or pending regulations, would appear to have the effect of sweeping up four very nearly finished Energy Department energy efficiency standards, affecting an array of products, including portable air conditioners and commercial boilers. The standards are designed to reduce energy use, and, in the process, consumer bills and greenhouse gas emissions

Trump Aides Prepare List of Early Energy Changes, Sources Say

Source: By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Donald Trump’s advisers have prepared a short list of energy and environmental policy changes he can take now that he has been sworn in as president, including steps to limit the role that climate change plays in government decisions and speed the review of cross-border pipelines. The list of actions Trump can take imminently includes nullifying former President Barack Obama’s guidelines that federal agencies weigh climate change when approving pipelines, deciding what areas to open for drilling or taking other major actions, two people familiar with Trump’s transition planning say.

Trump’s New EPA Transition Team Draws From Oil Industry Groups

Source: By Richard Valdmanis, Reuters • Posted: Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has drawn heavily from the energy industry lobby and pro-drilling think tanks to build its landing team for the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a list of the newly introduced 10-member team seen by Reuters on Monday. The email lists at least three former researchers from think-tanks funded by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch and at least one former lobbyist for the mining industry. Several members of the team have also publicly argued against U.S. efforts to combat climate change, a key function of the EPA under former President Barack Obama. The team’s make-up has reinforced expectations that Trump will follow through on his promise to slash U.S. environmental regulation as a way to promote drilling and mining.

As Trump enters White House, California renews climate change fight

Source: By Rory Carroll, Reuters • Posted: Monday, January 23rd, 2017

California released new measures to fight climate change within minutes of Donald Trump being sworn in as U.S. president on Friday, signaling the state’s commitment to be the nation’s environmental steward under an administration that has questioned the reality of global warming. California officials said it was a coincidence that the plan was released 37 minutes after the inauguration. The state outlined how it would achieve its goal of cutting output of heat-trapping greenhouse gases 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Rural economy survey shows growth in Nebraska, Iowa, but overall decline in Midwest

Source: By Steve Jordon, Omaha World Herald • Posted: Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Demand and production of ethanol and biodiesel have helped Nebraska and Iowa, and investments in wind energy projects in Iowa have helped, too, Goss said. South Dakota’s banking industry, which employs people in both rural and urban communities, has been helped by a general upturn in financial services.

What will Trump mean for green energy in RI?

Source: By Diana Pinzon and Brian Yocono, WPRI • Posted: Monday, January 23rd, 2017

A North Kingstown business owner is confident that Rhode Island’s renewable energy industry will continue to thrive, despite President-elect Trump’s pledge to focus on fossil fuels over the next four years. Doug Sabetti’s business – Newport Solar – has expanded so much since it was founded in 2009 that he had to move from his home office in Newport to a much larger warehouse in North Kingstown.

Off Long Island, Wind Power Tests the Waters

Source: By DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Only a few years ago, the long-held dream of harnessing the strong, steady gusts off the Atlantic coast to make electricity seemed destined to remain just that. Proposals for offshore wind farms foundered on the shoals of high costs, regulatory hurdles and the fierce opposition of those who didn’t want giant industrial machinery puncturing the pristine ocean views. Now the industry is poised to take off, just as the American political landscape and energy policy itself face perhaps the greatest uncertainty in a generation.

As U.S. Cedes Leadership on Climate, Others Step Up at Davos

Source: By HIROKO TABUCHI, New York Times • Posted: Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Under the Obama administration, the United States took on a climate leadership role. But President Trump has threatened to quit the Paris climate deal, and within minutes of his taking office on Friday, the White House website removed a discussion of the threat of climate change and replaced it with a commitment to eliminate cornerstone environmental policies. If the United States is willing to cede its role, however, there are plenty of countries happy to step up. Over four days of intense politicking and parleying at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the annual gathering in the Swiss Alps where global policy and business leaders debate the world’s challenges, the sizable Chinese delegation seemed to preach climate action every chance it got.

Trump’s Victory Creates Uncertainty for Wind and Solar Power

Source: By CATHY BUSSEWITZ AND GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press • Posted: Monday, January 23rd, 2017

President Donald Trump has disputed climate change, pledged a revival of coal and disparaged wind power, and his nominee to head the Energy Department was once highly skeptical of the agency’s value. What this means for states’ efforts to promote renewable energy is an open question. States that are pushing for greater reliance on wind and solar power are not quite sure what to expect as Trump takes over. Many of them depend heavily on federal renewable-energy tax credits, grants and research, much of which comes from the Energy Department.Renewable energy accounts for about 15 percent of the electricity generated in the United States. And 29 states have set targets for boosting their reliance on such power.