Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley is planning to introduce multiple bills in coming months to move the U.S. power mix to 100 percent renewable sources by midcentury. The plan is backed by environmentalists like 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben. Merkley made the announcement last week at the Netroots Nation conference in St. Louis on a panel with billionaire green activist Tom Steyer, which focused on Merkley’s “Keep It in the Ground Act.”
In a rare moment of bipartisan agreement on renewable energy, Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee spoke in favor of a bill intended to streamline the permitting process for developers of renewable energy projects on federal land. By “shortcutting the tedious and costly environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act,” the bill, the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2015, H.R. 2663, would help renewable projects that are “hampered by bureaucratic red tape,” Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said at a July 13 hearing held by the subcommittee.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought over the nation’s first offshore wind farm. The lawsuit was filed in 2015 by plaintiffs including the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association and others. They argued that utility National Grid’s deal to purchase power from the wind farm violated federal law and would result in a significant increase to their electric bills.
Wind turbine technology has come a long way in the quarter of a century since the world’s first offshore wind farm, Denmark’s Vindeby, was installed. The first turbines placed at sea had a capacity of roughly .45MW and stood just 52.5m tall. Manufacturers have since developed larger and more effective turbines, but innovation in wind energy is far from over.
New proposal calls for Utah, other states to have more participation in overseeing regional power grid
A revised document describing the guiding principals for the governance of California’s proposed 11-state electrical grid calls for broader participation from other states and sets deadlines for the implementation of a new Independent System Operator.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has voted to not approve a merger between Florida-based NextEra and Hawaii’s largest utility, saying the companies didn’t show they would provide adequate benefits to ratepayers or help the state meet its aggressive renewable energy goals.
California’s solar plants produced a record 8,030 megawatts of electricity just after 1 p.m. Tuesday — enough power for more than 6 million homes, and almost twice as much solar power as California could generate two years ago. The state has a law requiring utilities to acquire 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. When demand on Tuesday peaked at 5:54 p.m., nearly 29 percent of electricity in the grid was renewably sourced.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is tapping into the nation’s scientific and engineering muscle for policy advice on how to build a cleaner, smarter electric grid.
Wind energy in the U.S. will become competitive with natural gas and other forms of electricity generation — without subsidies — by the middle of the next decade, just after the federal production tax credit for wind expires, according to a July 11 analysis from Macquarie Research. Reaching that milestone could make the U.S. the global center of the wind industry. “We believe the US is now the most attractive wind market in the world due to the increased visibility of demand in the long term,” the Macquarie analysts wrote. “We believe it supplants China, which has dominated wind demand over the last five years, and prior to that Europe, which was the key market a decade ago.”
Lawmakers decamped for their seven-week recess yesterday amid a growing pile of unfinished business that awaits them in September, which includes key energy and environment spending bills, a possible energy conference report, and measures to fight the Zika virus and address the lead crisis in Flint, Mich. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accused Republicans of leaving for their national convention in Cleveland next week with a long to-do list, including funding for Zika and Flint, plus proposed gun control legislation and criminal justice reform.