Job losses hit all but renewable energy across power sector

Source: By Laura Barron-Lopez, The • Posted: Monday, December 22nd, 2014

The electric power generation sector lost more than 5,800 jobs over the last three years, according to an Energy Department stat shop. The losses hit all energy sources across electric power except for renewables, the Energy Information Administration said on Friday. The non-hydro renewable electricity sector, which includes wind and solar, gained roughly 1,800 jobs, EIA said.

LES adds wind, solar farms in major push to renewable energy

Source: By ALGIS J. LAUKAITIS, Lincoln Journal Star • Posted: Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Lincoln Electric System officials on Friday announced plans to add two wind farms and a solar energy farm as part of an aggressive move toward utilizing more renewable energy. The pictured solar panels can generate as much as 50 kilowatts of electricity when the sun is shining. Friday was more than a banner day for the Lincoln Electric System. It was equivalent to a seismic shift in the way Lincoln residents will get their power over the next 25 years. Adding power from two wind farms and a solar energy project will increase the utility’s renewable generation portfolio to 48 percent by 2016.

Lincoln Electric System to buy more wind energy

Source: By Russell Hubbard / World-Herald staff writer • Posted: Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Lincoln Electric System said Friday it has agreed to buy additional supplies of wind energy.

The customer-owned electric utility said it plans to buy 73 megawatts of wind energy by 2016 from the Prairie Breeze II Wind Energy Center in northeastern Nebraska and 100 megawatts from the Buckeye Wind Energy Center in north-central Kansas. LES also said Friday it plans to add five megawatts of solar power by 2016. The addition of wind and solar generation comes as the nation’s coal-fired electric plants face stricter emissions regulations, leading to plans for shuttering them or converting them to burn natural gas. By next year, Nebraska wind, solar and other renewable generation will account for about 1,209 megawatts, or about 14 percent of the state total.

EIA Sees 2015 Wind Growth Outside Tax Extension, Offering Boost For ESPS

Source: By John Siciliano, Inside EPA • Posted: Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Despite limited impact from the eleventh-hour passage of a vital tax credit extension for wind energy through the end of 2014, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) says wind projects will surge in the fourth quarter and through 2015, which could help states seeking to use more renewables to meet EPA’s climate rule targets. A Dec. 18 EIA analysis says that because the Senate extended the production tax credit (PTC) on Dec. 16 only through the end of the year, “this extension is unlikely to spur significant additional wind development activity beyond what installers had already planned.”

BLM advances massive Ore.-to-Idaho line for boosting Northwest capacity 

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, December 19th, 2014

The Bureau of Land Management today announced it has completed a draft environmental impact statement for Idaho Power Co.’s proposed Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project. The 500-kilovolt high-tower transmission line would travel from a proposed substation near Boardman, Ore., to an existing substation near Melba, Idaho, about 20 miles southwest of Boise. The power line will connect at the Hemingway substation near Melba to the proposed nearly 1,000-mile-long Gateway West Power Line Project that stretches into southern Wyoming, creating a potential route for electricity generated from planned wind power projects in Wyoming to be transported to major load centers in the Pacific Northwest.

How Denmark and Texas Became Wind Energy Kings

Source: BY TERRENCE HENRY, State Impact • Posted: Friday, December 19th, 2014

Denmark is booming when it comes to wind energy. To understand how and why, you have to go back a few decades. The country’s energy transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewables wasn’t motivated so much by concerns over climate change or “being green.” It was something much more sudden: the oil shocks of the seventies.

Cape Wind won’t secure financing this year, delaying construction 

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, December 19th, 2014

Offshore wind developer Cape Wind will not secure all financing for its Nantucket Sound wind farm by the end of 2014 as previously planned, it said today. Instead, the project is hoping to do so by the end of the first quarter 2015, project spokesman Mark Rodgers wrote in an email. He would not comment further on the financial status of the planned first-in-the-nation offshore wind farm, simply saying, “We are moving forward.”

Gov. Inslee of Wash. unveils carbon cap, predicts Republican support 

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, December 19th, 2014

Despite a divided state Legislature coming out of the 2014 midterm elections, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) says 2015 is the year for his state to get serious about climate change.
“Everyone agrees on the basic proposition” that the climate is changing and that the state needs to act on it, he said yesterday, speaking at REI’s main outlet in Seattle. “We don’t all agree on what the first steps should be. But I’m open to all ideas.” Inslee laid out his plan for cutting greenhouse gas emissions yesterday. Its centerpiece is a carbon cap for major emitters and a system of allowances they would purchase to stay within the cap, he said. Revenue from the system would go toward education, transportation and support for vulnerable communities.

Regulation: Lawmakers get down to details on South Dakota and EPA’s proposed rule

Source: By Inside EPA • Posted: Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Much of the opposition to EPA’s proposed rules governing power plant GHG emissions rests on broad assertions (illegal, unworkable, damaging to electric reliability, economically unsound), but here’s a case where the issue is very specific and possibly unique, with 10 members of Congress from four states (six senators; four from the House — including one senator-elect; five Republicans, five Democrats) urging EPA to consider what would happen to South Dakota under its proposal.

Supporters decry short tax break extension for wind industry

Source: By Laura Barron-Lopez, The • Posted: Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Senators expressed little pleasure in voting for what they called the least bad option on Tuesday. “This two-week extenders bill represents another low point in the world of dysfunctional Washington politics,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). “This bill does little to help families and businesses in Colorado, particularly our wind energy industry. Waiting until now to extend the wind PTC — and only for two weeks — generates nothing but more uncertainty for these businesses that employ thousands of Coloradans,” Bennet added.