It was the second straight year U.S. investment in renewable energy projects has outpaced that of fossil fuels. Robust growth is once again predicted for this year. And while Republican lawmakers in Washington have fought to protect coal-fired power plants, opposing President Barack Obama’s efforts to curtail climate-warming carbon emissions, data show their home states are often the ones benefiting most from the nation’s accelerating shift to renewable energy. Leading the way in new wind projects are GOP strongholds Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, home to some of the leading critics of climate science and renewable energy incentives in Congress. Republican-dominated North Carolina trails only California in new solar farms, thanks largely to pro-renewables polices enacted years ago under a Democratic legislature.
Environmentalists including the Sierra Club immediately used Trump’s expected nomination to criticize the businessman, who has called climate change a “hoax,” voiced opposition to a carbon tax and said he would slash funding for U.S. EPA.
Either way, the data reinforce a common theme since the final Clean Power Plan was unveiled back in August of 2015, and then after it was stayed by the Supreme Court. Namely, this: Even without the plan in place, the U.S. is transitioning its energy system in precisely the direction that the plan would itself require. It’s not yet the law — but it’s already a sign of the times.
An effort to jolt Massachusetts’ reliance on solar and wind projects has surged in recent years, powered in part by an increase in lobbying by supporters of renewable energy. In 2015, nearly two dozen renewable energy companies and advocacy groups poured more than $1.5 million into lobbying in an effort to get their voices heard by Beacon Hill lawmakers, according to an Associated Press review of state lobbying records. Just five years ago, in 2010, only five of the 23 companies had spent anything on lobbying.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz travels to Des Moines on Friday for the first stop in a two-day Iowa visit pegged to the Quadrennial Energy Review. Moniz will speak before panels on bulk power generation, transmission development and electricity distribution in the Iowa capital before heading west to dedicate the Ames Laboratory’s Sensitive Instrument Facility and deliver the commencement address at Iowa State University’s graduation ceremony. Moniz joins Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie (D) and U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development administrator Sam Rikkers for the session at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, one of six regional meetings on the review. It is part of the agency’s broader push for technology development.
The Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday revived a proposal to allow energy companies to obtain 30-year permits to disturb or kill protected bald and golden eagles, a move aimed at encouraging more firms to commit to eagle conservation measures. The agency released a draft rule along with a draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) analyzing the rule’s effect on eagles and a requirement that companies perform mitigation to offset harm to golden eagles.
The Obama administration is revising a federal rule that allows wind-energy companies to operate high-speed turbines for up to 30 years, even if means killing or injuring thousands of federally protected bald and golden eagles. Under the plan announced Wednesday, wind companies and other power providers could kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles a year without penalty — nearly four times the current limit. Golden eagles could only be killed if companies take steps to minimize the losses, for instance, by retrofitting power poles to reduce the risk of electrocution.
A once-sleepy department of nerds and nukes in the austere Forrestal Building has transformed over the last seven years into the Obama administration’s economic and technology arsenal for the fight against climate change. David Danielson helped make it happen.
General Electric wants to become a major player in the offshore wind industry and is interested in buying the Areva-Gamesa offshore joint venture Adwen, GE’s new head of renewables said on Tuesday. Following its takeover of the energy assets of French Alstom, GE in November 2015 created a global renewable energy business unit with sales of 9 billion euros ($10.42 billion), staff of 13,000, and its headquarters in France.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill supporting a proposed windmill farm off the coast of Atlantic City. Christie on Monday rejected the bill that would permit, but not require, the state Board of Public Utilities to approve the wind farm off the coast, to be built by Fishermen’s Energy.