On March 19, President Obama signed an Executive Order, “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.” It mandates a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by federal agencies by 2025, compared to 2008 levels. The mandate is not insignificant, since the federal government is the largest consumer of energy in the United States. A variety of compliance options are available to agencies, including renewable energy, building efficiency, and alternative vehicle technologies and fuels.
Pusateri, the Edward Jones analyst, said part of the resistance may also be inflamed because of how the gas gets out of the ground. The Marcellus Shale gas is extracted using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The process, which blasts chemical-laden water into wells to crack open rock, has drawn heavy criticism. In New York, much of the antipathy toward pipelines was driven by the anti-fracking sentiment that resulted in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ban on shale gas development in New York.
Flying 56 miles west from this port, you are greeted by a 10-story, yellow, boxlike platform rising out of the North Sea. It is called SylWin1, the connection to Europe’s electric grid from one of the largest power plants ever built offshore. Beyond it, arrayed over 27 acres of ocean, are the 80 Siemens 3.6-megawatt turbines of the Dan Tysk wind farm.
For Europeans, and perhaps for some Americans, this may be their energy future. The unobstructed winds at sea here are capable of spinning up enough power to electrify around 1 million German households.
Wisconsin has asked to join 13 states supporting coal company Murray Energy Corp.’s court challenge to block U.S. EPA from finalizing a rule to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The D.C. Circuit has consolidated the Murray challenge with another one brought by West Virginia and 11 other states. In total, 15 states are part of the efforts to block the regulation.
Why the project stalled — and why New Jersey will almost certainly miss its goal of 1,100 megawatts of wind-generated electricity before 2021 — is the subject of intense debate here. Some blame the governor, whose enthusiasm for wind energy appeared to flag around the time he began exploring a run for the Republican presidential nomination. Political opponents say the turning point was a series of meetings in 2011 and 2012 with key Republican donors, including billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, oil-industry magnates who have bankrolled campaigns against renewable energy.
“When the wind comes sweeping down the plain” is no longer just a signature lyric from Oklahoma’s famous state song. It is synonymous for what Oklahomans once thought of as just an annoying component of Mother Nature. Since 2003, the signature Oklahoma winds have enjoyed a renaissance thanks to their development as a leading generator of electricity, and their many economic and environmental attributes.
As wind energy companies try to find their footing in Maryland, state senators proposed a bill that would limit turbines’ heights, as well as their companies’ interests, in southern Maryland. Proposals had placed wind turbines in the Chesapeake Bay near the Patuxent River, and along the Atlantic Coast near Ocean City, but this bill would only limit development near the river’s Naval Air Station.
The Senate voted yesterday afternoon to oppose creation of a federal carbon tax, a proposal the White House has not endorsed and that has little chance of enactment in the current Congress. Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) amendment was adopted by the chamber, 58-42. Four Democrats crossed the aisle to support it: Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. All voted for a previous Blunt amendment to the fiscal 2014 resolution.
Georgetown, Texas, is home to the oldest university in the Lone Star State and is affectionately called the “red poppy capital” of Texas. It will soon add another accolade to the mix: the state’s first city-owned utility to run on 100 percent renewable energy. Last Wednesday, the city announced a 25-year contract with SunEdison to buy 150 megawatts of solar energy. In order to supply the power, SunEdison will build a solar farm in West Texas. The solar will complement a deal Georgetown signed last year with EFD Renewables for 144 MW of wind power from its West Texas wind farm through 2039.
For procedural reasons, the amendments were all vaguely worded and nonbinding — which limits somewhat their usefulness as guides to future legislation. But over the course of the 15 hours senators spent casting votes yesterday and this morning, some clear lessons emerged for the marquee energy and environment fights to come later this year. They are: