“We are proud of Iowa’s leadership in wind energy,” says Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who also serves as chairman of the Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition. “We’ve seen exponential growth in wind energy, and the data released today reinforces what we’ve been seeing in every corner of our state. With potential to jump above 40 percent in the next five years, we are committed to building an even greener Iowa future that will provide our Iowa families with cleaner, renewable energy and job opportunities.”
DOE’s $32.5 billion request includes a 21 percent rise in clean energy research and development, including a large increase for programs like the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which supports cutting-edge technologies outside the reach of the private sector. Other big winners under the proposal include sustainable transportation, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, which would all receive at least a 27 percent increase over last year’s level. The administration is hoping that key appropriators like Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) — a historical supporter of R&D — will help make some of the funding requests a reality.
Senate Energy Committee ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said that Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) was also withholding consent, but his office has not responded to requests for comment. The office of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Friday confirmed he had a hold on the energy bill — which he opposed in committee — but declined to comment on whether the objections extended to the Flint deal. Lawmakers plan to vote on that separately. Backers of moving forward with the long-stalled agenda are hoping to get an agreement to set up votes on the energy bill, about three-dozen amendments, and the Flint package.
After years of effort, Deepwater Wind expects to complete the first offshore wind farm in the US later this year. Supporters say the project off the coast of Block Island is an important milestone that will bolster the growth of renewable energy. But debate continues about the cost of that energy for Rhode Island residents.
The Indiana governor’s office yesterday said the state would prepare a compliance plan if U.S. EPA’s rule limiting power plant carbon emissions is deemed legal. The comments came on the heels of an Indianapolis Star report saying the state would not develop a plan even if the disputed rule is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. That is not the case, according to a state official. “If the courts ultimately uphold the Clean Power Plan, the governor absolutely prefers a state plan,” Dan Schmidt, Indiana policy director for energy and environment, said in an email.
“I think it is part of a long transition that’s taking place, where people are only now starting to realize what the resources are in their states, and how fast they actually can make the transition,” said Rob Gramlich, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the American Wind Energy Association. “Wind is a new entrant in all of these places,” Gramlich said. “Almost all of it has been developed in the last 10 years, it’s relatively new, so, you know, and the utilities have been there for a hundred years or more, with their relationships with policymakers. That doesn’t change in a few years when a new technology comes in and enters the market.”
The state of Washington withdrew a plan today that would have set the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions from large facilities. In a news release, the Washington Department of Ecology said it would update the plan based on feedback. The agency said it would issue a new proposed rule in the spring. “We appreciate all the helpful and constructive feedback we have received from stakeholders,” Sarah Rees, Ecology’s special assistant on climate change policy, said in a statement. “We’re listening and being responsive to the ideas on how to best move the rule forward.”
Washington could become the first state in the nation to impose a direct tax on carbon emissions from fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline and natural gas. A ballot measure before the state Legislature would create a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton of fossil fuel emissions burned in Washington, while reducing taxes. Lawmakers have until the end of the session on March 10 to enact Initiative 732, offer an alternative proposal or automatically pass the carbon-tax measure to voters in November as written. It’s not clear whether lawmakers will approve an alternative by the end of the session.
President Obama on Friday used a visit to a high-technology battery plant in Florida to argue that the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subsidies he signed into law during his first days in office had bolstered the economy, transformed the nation’s energy sector, and positioned the United States for a strong rebound. But Mr. Obama’s trip to the Saft America factory here, opened in 2011 with a $95.5 million investment from the Department of Energy, also highlighted the challenges that have tempered the economic recovery and the difficulty that the president has had in claiming credit for it.
The United States is racing toward achieving the goals of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), even as the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia raises the prospect of a deadlocked Supreme Court ruling. Achieving CPP carbon-dioxide emissions targets 14 years ahead of schedule is now likely thanks to a remarkable confluence of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies each achieving affordability after decades of developments.