Senate heads for exits, planning action on miners and GMOs

Source: George Cahlink and Hannah Hess, E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, June 30th, 2016

FAA’s current short-term authorization expires on July 15. Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said he hopes to pass an extension that would run through the end of 2017. But said the measure would not include any tax riders, a move backers of FAA say would bog down the reauthorization. Renewable energy advocates have been pressing to fix what they call an oversight in last year’s end-of-year omnibus spending and tax package, which extended the investment tax credit for solar for five years but not other qualifying sources.

Conference ‘doomed to failure’ — top Dem

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

President Obama would veto whatever comes out of a potential conference committee on energy reform legislation, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat predicted yesterday. “It’s doomed to failure,” Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York told E&E Daily yesterday when asked about negotiations on a possible framework path forward.

Wind Power Moves U.S. Energy Forward

Source: By Tom Vinson, Morning Consult • Posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Wind power is an important part of America’s electricity mix that keeps money in the pockets of families and businesses, despite misleading claims from anti-renewable energy special interest groups. Today, there’s enough wind power in the U.S. for 20 million American homes, and wind is on track to quadruple in size by 2030 to supply 20 percent of the country’s electricity. This strong growth has been driven in part by the Production Tax Credit (PTC), a market-driven solution that has helped rapidly scale up wind power.

Renewable energy group launches down-ballot nonprofit

Source: By ALEX ISENSTADT, Politico • Posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

A new player has entered the 2016 campaign: The renewable energy industry. American Wind Action, a newly-formed 501(c)(4) nonprofit group that’s devoted to advocating for wind energy, is launching on Tuesday with ambitious plans to spend over $1 million in congressional and state legislative races across the country. It plans to invest in TV and digital ads.

Group will promote candidates who favor wind energy

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Wind advocates are forming a new group today to elect candidates around the country who are friendly to the industry. American Wind Action is launching with a seven-figure budget, a new website and digital ads. Its board of directors includes Sam Enfield, principal of Windline Development LLC; Jeff Clark, executive director of the Wind Coalition in Texas; and Jim Reilly, senior vice president at the American Wind Energy Association. “In addition to its focus on ensuring that the public understand the importance of wind to energy policy and communities across the country, AWA will also help elect candidates who are strong advocates for wind, and work to defeat candidates who oppose wind energy with a leading-edge grassroots effort in the 2016 campaign,” the group said in a statement.

50% clean power ‘doable’ for North America by 2025 — EIA chief

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

The head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration today called a goal by North American leaders to reach 50 percent carbon-free power by 2025 “doable.” Speaking at an event to discuss his agency’s Annual Energy Outlook, EIA Chief Adam Sieminski said the United States, Canada and Mexico are expected to reach 46 percent power from renewables and nuclear by 2025.

China’s Idled Wind Farms May Spell Trouble for Renewable Energy

Source: By Bloomberg News • Posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

The researchers point to a myriad of other reasons for the shortcomings of turbines in China, ranging from lower turbine quality, grid connection problems and the failure of grid operators to transmit wind power to users because they prefer other types of energy sources such as coal. “Improvements in both technology choices and the policy environment are critical in addressing these challenges,” the authors of the report concluded.

Senators approve bill to block international climate funding

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Senate appropriators today advanced a fiscal 2017 spending plan for the State Department and federal foreign operations that would restrict funding for international climate change efforts. According to summaries of the draft bill made available this afternoon, the legislation would bar any federal funding for the U.N. fund to help poor countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Invenergy CEO: PTC phase-down may not count for much

Source: By Karl-Erik Stromsta in New York, Globe Renewable Energy News • Posted: Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

The idea behind the PTC phase-out was to spark a near-term investment boom without simultaneously creating a demand cliff. Developers with advanced projects would rush to qualify for the full PTC in 2016, but earlier-stage projects would still be able to secure a substantial fraction of the PTC over the coming few years – or so the thinking went. But major wind developers are now questioning whether many projects will get built based on reduced PTC levels after all, given the intensely competitive landscape in the US power sector today.

Senate bill would boost Massachusetts’ reliance on renewable energy

Source: By ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Leaders in the Massachusetts Senate have unveiled legislation designed to ramp up the state’s reliance on renewable energy sources, including offshore wind and hydropower. The plan, detailed Friday, establishes more aggressive energy targets than a similar bill approved by the House this month.