Tax Extensions remain on table amid heavy lobbying

Source: Geof Koss and Christa Marshall, E&E News reporters • Posted: Friday, December 2nd, 2016

Multiple industries are mounting a last-ditch effort to extend a handful of energy tax breaks by attaching them to must-pass spending legislation, although aides and lobbyists say the push remains an uphill fight. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had pledged to work toward an extension of the investment tax credit for qualifying energy sources left out of last year’s deal. He is eyeing the continuing government funding resolution as a vehicle but is meeting resistance in the House, Democratic aides said this week.

Shell Studies Green Energy Deals to Prepare for Future After Oil

Source: By Karolin Schaps and Ron Bousso, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Royal Dutch Shell, the world’s second-biggest publicly listed oil company, is studying acquisitions in the green energy sector, its CEO told Reuters, as it bows to shareholder demands for a strategy beyond fossil fuels. Shell, which has a market value of $200 billion, produces two percent of the world’s oil and gas but rapid technological change coupled with policies to protect the climate have kick-started a shift in energy markets that has put enormous pressure on oil companies to plan for a time after fossil fuels.

How a data tweak could rock tomorrow’s grid

Source: David Ferris, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Decades from now, if renewable energy like wind and solar keeps up its rapid growth, it could make electricity more appealing than gas as a means to curb carbon emissions and boost the electrification of all kinds of appliances. It could make the economic case for renewable energy stronger, while also boosting technologies and techniques that lower emissions, like energy storage and efficiency. And it could prompt a fundamental rethinking of the United States’ energy math, in ways that could have the country legitimately claim a big rise in energy productivity and an even more dramatic drop in energy use.

Sun setting on Japan’s solar energy boom

Source: By Anne Beade, Phys.Org • Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Renewable energy in Japan faces increasingly stiff competition from nuclear and fossil fuel-generated power The sun is setting on Japan’s clean-energy boom, despite projects like a massive floating solar farm near Tokyo, as the government cuts subsidies and bets on nuclear and coal-fired power, critics say.

Vestas gaining in U.S. wind turbine capacity

Source: By Aldo Svaldi, Denver Post • Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Vestas Wind Systems, the Danish wind turbine maker with a big manufacturing presence in Colorado, accounted for 34 percent of the 8.2 gigawatts of wind power capacity installed in the country last year, according to a report Monday from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That was second only to General Electric, which accounted for 42 percent of installations and ahead of Siemens at 16 percent. It represents the largest share Vestas has claimed in the U.S. in records going back to 2005 and reflects a big turn around from 2013, when the company had almost no installations.

Turbines will get cheaper as they get bigger — study

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2016

A shift toward taller, larger and higher-capacity wind turbines will continue to drive down costs for wind power in the United States and sharpen the renewable energy resource’s competitive edge, according to new research published in the journal Nature Energy. The findings, based on a survey of 163 global wind energy experts, found that the upward scaling of both land- and ocean-based turbines will continue for the foreseeable future, and that the deployment of larger wind turbines will help make wind energy economically competitive with fossil fuels in some regions.

Trump said the U.S. doesn’t make windmills. It’s just not true

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Trump also made the verifiably false claim that “we don’t make windmills in the United States,” as well as more nuanced arguments that “the windmills need massive subsidies,” adding that “for the most part they don’t work” and “they won’t work at all without subsidy.” While debates have raged for years over the costs and benefits of providing federal subsidies to various forms of energy — including both renewables and fossil energy — Trump’s comments about the origins of U.S. windmills, which today number nearly 50,000 turbines in 40 states, were particularly misinformed, according to industry experts.

Trump Can’t Kill Solyndra Loan Office That Outperforms Banks

Source: By Brian Eckhouse and Eric Roston, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

The federal energy program that’s best-known for a failed loan to solar manufacturer Solyndra LLC is generating billions for the government and probably won’t be going anywhere under Donald Trump. The incoming president can’t unilaterally kill the U.S. Energy Department’s loan programs office. Only Congress can do that, with new legislation. And that’s doubtful, according to the program’s executive director and his two most recent predecessors, all appointees of President Barack Obama.

Vilsack’s tough message for fellow Democrats: Stop writing off rural America

Source: By Greg Jaffe, Washington Post • Posted: Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Vilsack had an urgent message, and he sensed that in Biden, he would find a receptive audience. The two politicians had served together throughout President Obama’s eight years in office and had known each other for decades. Both are nearing the ends of long and successful political careers, built on speaking to the ambitions and anxieties of white, working-class voters who turned decisively to Donald Trump in this election. “We need to speak more directly to our folks in rural America,” Vilsack recalled telling the vice president. “And we have to spend time there.”

Cities and States Lead on Climate Change

Source: By JEFF BIGGERS, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

By 2020, thanks to MidAmerican Energy’s planned $3.6 billion addition to its enormous wind turbine operations, 85 percent of its Iowa customers will be electrified by clean energy. Meanwhile, Moxie Solar, named the fastest-growing local business by The Corridor Business Journal of Iowa, is installing solar panels on my house, and is part of a solar industry that now employs 200,000 nationwide. Doomsday scenarios about the climate have abounded in the aftermath of the November election. But responsibility for effectively reining in carbon emissions also rests with business, and with the nation’s cities and states. Those are the battlegrounds. Worldwide, cities produce as much as 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.