Offshore Wind Moves Into Energy’s Mainstream

Source: By STANLEY REED, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

It is precisely the size, both of the projects and the profits they can bring, that has grabbed the attention of financial institutions, money managers and private equity funds, like the investment bank Goldman Sachs, as well as wealthy individuals like the owner of the Danish toymaker Lego. As the technology has improved and demand for renewable energy has risen, costs have fallen. And offshore wind, once a fringe investment, with limited scope and reliant on government subsidies, is moving into the mainstream. Europe, too, looks all the more attractive, as the United States under President Trump rethinks its stance on renewables.

U.S. EPA Employees Protest Trump’s Pick to Run Agency

Source: By Valerie Volcovici, Reuters • Posted: Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Former and current employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expressed opposition to President Donald Trump’s pick to run the agency on Monday – in an open letter and a small street protest – reflecting divisions over the new administration’s plans to slash regulation. Over 400 former EPA staff members sent a letter to the U.S. Senate asking it to reject the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the agency’s new leader, saying “he has shown no interest in enforcing environmental laws.”

Debate Over Executive Order Can Prompt New Look at Inconsistent Energy Regulations

Source: By Ernie Shea, 25x25 • Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2017

The wind and solar industries, along with the electrical transmission sector, have long lamented the protracted and costly pace of regulatory approval needed to upgrade the nation’s grid. Efforts to get the sanctions to build and operate new transmission lines can take as long as a decade and with a price tag in the billions of dollars. County ordinances, state regulatory agencies and federal government oversight have splintered the process that enables the delivery of clean energy from more remote locations in the nation to areas with high energy demand. Efforts to mediate these issues and harmonize the regulatory authority among the various players should be put on the front policy burner to optimize the benefits of vast new energy sources.

Without a quorum, what happens at FERC?

Source: By James P. Rubin, Politico • Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2017

In a few hours, FERC will become a two-woman show after Commissioner Norman Bay departs at the end of the day. That will leave the commission without a quorum for the first time in its 40-year history. Bay’s decision to leave the agency so soon after having the chairman’s gavel taken from him by President Donald Trump has stirred the agency and left energy analysts, industry big wigs, lawyers, and lobbyists fretting over just how much work screeches to a halt.

US utilities seek sun as Trump sides with coal, fossil fuels

Source: By EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press • Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2017

The plunging cost of solar power is leading U.S. electric companies to capture more of the sun just when President Donald Trump is moving to boost coal and other fossil fuels. Solar power represents just about 1 percent of the electricity U.S. utilities generate today, but that could grow substantially as major electric utilities move into smaller-scale solar farming, a niche developed by local cooperatives and non-profits.It’s both an opportunity and a defensive maneuver: Sunshine-capturing technology has become so cheap, so quickly, that utilities are moving to preserve their core business against competition from household solar panels.

Trump Team Relaxes EPA Restrictions on Media and Contracts

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2017

Trump’s pick to serve as EPA administrator, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, cleared a Senate committee vote Thursday and appears headed for confirmation by the full chamber in the coming weeks. While Pruitt’s nomination has been enthusiastically praised by Republicans and the fossil fuel industry, Democrats and environmental groups said his confirmation would be a disaster for EPA. The Trump team also appears to be distancing itself from some of the more controversial comments made by Myron Ebell, who led transition efforts at EPA prior to the president’s swearing in.

Scott Pruitt’s Climate Change Plan From 2014

By The New York Times • Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2017

Scott Pruitt, the likely next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, drafted his own plan for climate change while he was attorney general of Oklahoma.

Scott Pruitt Is Seen Cutting the E.P.A. With a Scalpel, Not a Cleaver

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2017

Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency, is drawing up plans to move forward on the president’s campaign promise to “get rid of” the agency he hopes to head. He has a blueprint to repeal climate change rules, cut staffing levels, close regional offices and permanently weaken the agency’s regulatory authority. But Mr. Pruitt, a lawyer who made a career suing the E.P.A., is not likely to start with the kind of shock and awe that Mr. Trump has used to disorient Washington. Instead, he will use the legal tools at his disposal to pare back the agency’s reach and power, and trim its budget selectively.

Saudi Arabia Plans the World’s Cheapest Power With Solar and Wind

Source: By Wael Mahdi, Bloomberg • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2017

The kingdom plans to produce 9.5 gigawatts of power from renewable energy sources by 2023, Al-Falih said. Building more solar plants and developing a nuclear-power industry is part of a broader government plan to diversify away from crude sales as the main source of income. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest crude exporter and pumps the most oil among the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Oregon far short of greenhouse gas emissions goals, report says

Source: By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian • Posted: Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Oregon is not reducing carbon dioxide emissions fast enough to meet its goals for 2020 and beyond, a new report finds. In fact, it’s not even close. Those are the findings of a biennial report the Oregon Global Warming Commission will deliver to state lawmakers this week, and they come despite ambitious legislation passed to cut emissions from the electricity and transportation sectors.