President Obama will announce on Friday a handful of executive actions and private and nonprofit groups’ investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The initiatives will not amount to much in terms of energy policy or their impact on global warming. But they are part of a broader campaign to build public support for an Environmental Protection Agency rule that the White House will unveil in June. The rule, which has already run into objections, will limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and is expected to create a major new market for zero-carbon energy from sources like wind and solar.
The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition has released a letter to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), expressing the group’s support for wind energy as an eligiblemeasure for states to utilize to comply with upcoming carbon emission rules. The EPA is currentlyworking on standards under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to limit carbon emissions from existingpower plants.
The Governor’s Wind Energy Coalition urged EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a letter yesterday to encourage states to tap their wind energy potential as they comply with the rule, which is due to be proposed next month. “Although some of our members do not agree with this proposed EPA action, we all urge you to consider wind energy as an effective and proven clean energy source for our consumers and businesses, as well as its positive impact on economic development of our states,” said the governors, led by South Dakota’s Dennis Daugaard (R) and Washington’s Jay Inslee (D).
The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition — which has a number of members opposed to EPA’s forthcoming greenhouse gas emissions rule for existing power plants — says EPA should [consider] wind energy’s carbon-free possibilities. They would also like it if EPA could “give states flexibility in meeting EPA requirements [and] expedite approval of state plans,” among other things.
Stanford University’s board of trustees voted yesterday to rid the university’s $18.7 billion endowment of any direct investments in coal-mining companies, a move that activists hailed as a harbinger for institutional investors. The university will refrain from directly investing in about 100 public companies whose primary business is coal extraction and will get out of any such investments it currently has.
Yesterday’s sweeping federal report on climate change’s toll on the United States should spur the GOP to offer its own ideas for how to combat the problem, according to two moderate Republicans. Former Utah governor and GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and Reagan-era EPA Administrator Lee Thomas both wrote op-eds yesterday arguing that the third National Climate Assessment should change Republicans’ minds. Huntsman — who was the only member of the 2012 Republican primary field to maintain that man-made climate change is an established scientific fact — said again that Republicans would pay for making climate skepticism a party litmus test.
When it rains, it pours. When it’s dry, it’s parched. When it’s hot, it lasts. These are some of the impacts climate change is already bringing to the United States, with more extremes to come in the future, according to the National Climate Assessment report released yesterday. With 30 chapters, multiple appendices and a user-friendly website, the report comprehensively documents climate change impacts across the United States.
Customer orders for General Electric Co.’s advanced wind turbines have surged over the last 18 months, the company announced yesterday, in part because renewable energy developers responded aggressively to Congress’ one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy. The rate of growth has been especially pronounced over the last 12 months, with new orders jumping from roughly 1 gigawatt of capacity in May 2013 to 3.9 GW of capacity today, according to GE. Most of that new capacity, 2.8 GW, will be completed or begin construction over the next 19 months and will use the company’s “brilliant” platform turbines. “We feel confident that, with our strong backlog of orders, we are strongly positioned for 2014 and 2015,” Anne McEntee, president and CEO of GE’s renewable energy business, said in a press release.
“Offshore wind offers a large, untapped energy resource for the United States that can create thousands of manufacturing, construction and supply chain jobs across the country and drive billions of dollars in local economic investment,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement. “The Energy Department is working with public and private partners to harness this untapped resource in a sustainable and economic manner.”
The long-promised potential of offshore wind development along American coastlines took a step toward fruition on Wednesday as the Department of Energy pledged up to $47 million each to three projects it previously supported. The grants are intended to help the projects, off the coasts of New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia, begin delivering electricity by 2017. “Offshore wind offers a large, untapped energy resource for the United States that can create thousands of manufacturing, construction and supply chain jobs across the country and drive billions of dollars in local economic investment,” Ernest J. Moniz, the energy secretary, said in a statement.