Wind farm supporters urged lawmakers Tuesday to retain current laws that require utility companies to generate or purchase renewable energy by the year 2020. Wind farm supporters opposed Senate Bill 253, which would discontinue the Renewable Energy Standards Act by the end of the year. The act requires major electricity companies like Westar Energy to generate at least 10 percent of energy from renewable sources. The second part of the legislation would cancel the scheduled Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) increases to 15 percent by 2016 and 20 percent by 2020.
There was a series of attempts in 2013 and 2014 to repeal or weaken state laws that set targets for increasing the use of renewable energy. States across the country—including Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas and North Carolina, among others—faced campaigns against their renewable energy standards. All of those attempts were unsuccessful except in the case of Ohio.
A growing number of state legislatures are trying to insert themselves into the debate over crafting plans to comply with U.S. EPA’s unprecedented effort to lower the carbon footprints of state power sectors. Pennsylvania and West Virginia have already enacted laws giving their legislative chambers veto power over the proposals their states’ environmental protection agencies ultimately will draft to comply with the Clean Power Plan. The influential conservative American Legislative Exchange Council is pushing for other Republican-controlled chambers to pass similar bills. Earlier this week, a Minnesota House committee approved language mirroring ALEC’s model legislation.
The Obama administration is setting higher goals for wind power, saying it could supply 35% of the nation’s electricity by the year 2050.
Wind power currently generates 4.5% of electricity, but that number is expected to more than double to 10% by 2020, says a report obtained by USA TODAY that will be released today by the U.S. Department of Energy. “Wind energy continues to be one of America’s best choices for low-cost, zero-pollution renewable energy, and in an increasing number of markets, may be the cheapest source of new energy available,” says a summary of the report by the Obama administration.
Siemens gained over Vestas to top the global wind turbine market as measured by market share of newly installed machines connected to the grid in 2014, according to an industry report, but the gap between the top three companies is small.
Prices at the pump don’t reflect the true cost of fossil fuels, according to a new study. When you add together the environmental, health and social costs of continuing business as usual with fossil fuel extraction and use, all of society gets billed, not just the consumer, it finds.
Tax credits to cover 30 percent of the upfront cost haven’t done much for local elected officials in Iowa eager to try solar energy for public buildings as a way to save on electric bills and to green up their environmental credentials. Until now.
Power companies’ new generating capacity this year will be dominated by wind, natural gas and solar power, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. Wind will see a net increase of 9.8 gigawatts of capacity throughout the country, the most of any power source, the EIA said Tuesday, based on generating companies’ stated expectations.
A bill that would give the Minnesota Legislature the final say on a state plan to reduce carbon emissions passed a state House committee yesterday. In the coming months, U.S. EPA plans to set carbon reduction goals for each state to address climate change. Following the goals by the federal agency, state officials will devise a plan to meet the targets. The bill would require state lawmakers to approve the plan before it’s implemented.
Foes of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan are weighing the legal and political pros and cons of a “just say no” approach to the draft rule aimed at curbing heat-trapping greenhouse gases from power plants.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week urged states to not prepare plans for implementing the rule. Cooperating with the Obama administration, he said, would undercut legal and legislative efforts to kill the rule and allow EPA to impose a rule that exceeds its legal authority