News

Exxon Mobil asserts low-carbon regulations won’t happen

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

“The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action,” William Colton, Exxon Mobil’s vice president of corporate strategic planning, said in a statement announcing the reports. Environmentalists welcomed the first-of-its-kind acknowledgement by a major petroleum company that climate change poses real and immediate challenges to the firm’s prospects. But they were less sanguine about the company’s vision for what the global energy sector will look like in 2040.

Facebook, Google praised for ‘going green’ in Iowa

Source: Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

“In the U.S., there are now nine states that are getting 10 percent or more of their electricity from wind power, with Iowa (25 percent) — a data center hub — topping the list,” the group said. In Iowa, Google has invested $1.5 billion in data center operations in Council Bluffs. Facebook is building a $300 million data center in Altoona that’s expected to grow to $1 billion, and Microsoft has invested nearly $900 million in West Des Moines. West Des Moines is expected to draw another large data center project, with an assessed taxable value of $255 million, city documents indicated last month.

The Senate Finance Committee will mark up the tax extenders package in the morning.

Source: The Hill.com • Posted: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The surprising exclusion drew attention from wind energy’s supporters on and off Capitol Hill. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) proposed an amendment to renew the PTC, drawing support from other members and the wind energy industry. A committee aide said to expect the PTC in that is passed Thursday in the committee.

Hoyer confronts ‘Greek tragedy’ during Annapolis homecoming

Source: Josh Kurtz, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Hoyer appeared at a state Senate Finance Committee hearing to speak in favor of a bill that would delay a proposed wind turbine project on farmland on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, near the Chesapeake Bay. Hoyer led a parade of political and civic leaders expressing fears that the wind farm could impede critical radar testing across the bay at Patuxent River Naval Air Station — and thus jeopardize the entire existence of the naval base, the economic driver for southern Maryland.

Grid seeing ‘greatest fuel shift in its history’ — operators

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Excess generation will narrow and energy prices could become more volatile as more gas is used to produce electricity, said Kormos, who works for PJM — a grid operator that oversees the energy system in 13 states and the District of Columbia. “The electric power industry is in the midst of the greatest fuel shift in its history, and the PJM wholesale energy markets are managing through the transition,” he said

EPA sends rule for existing power plants to White House

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

U.S. EPA sent its draft guidance for curbing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants to the White House yesterday, leaving two months for interagency vetting before the proposal’s expected June 2 release date. The Office of Management and Budget’s regulatory website reported the transfer this morning of the rule, a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

PTC out, biofuels in extenders package to be marked up Thursday

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Tax credits for biofuels and other gasoline alternatives, energy-efficient new homes and coal producers in Indian Country would be reinstated under legislation unveiled today by the Senate’s top tax writers. The wind industry and other renewable electricity producers still have some lobbying ahead of them, as Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) did not propose a renewal of the production tax credit (PTC), typically the most expensive of the energy provisions included in “tax extenders” bills.

Renewal of wind tax credit shows signs of life

Source: Christopher Doering, Gannett Washington Bureau • Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

A credit to help the wind industry could soon be renewed, as lawmakers are expected to take it up this week along with nearly 50 other tax provisions that expired at the end of last year. The tax breaks, ranging from charitable contributions to corporate research, would be extended through 2015 as part of a sweeping proposal released by Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. While the initial draft does not include production tax credits (PTC) for wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and other renewable power sources, a Wyden aide and officials representing the wind industry expected the measure to be included when the committee debates the bill Thursday. The draft included measures that were largely not controversial.

4 governors sign letter urging renewal of wind production tax credit

Source: Elizabeth Harball and Daniel Cusick, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Touting wind energy as an important economic boon in their states, a bipartisan group of governors yesterday asked congressional leaders to renew the production tax credit (PTC) for the renewable energy technology. The PTC, which provides a 2.3-cent-per-kilowatt-hour subsidy to wind farms that began service or started meaningful development by the end of 2013, expired in December. But the wind industry and state leaders are lobbying to revive the credit program, arguing in a letter to Congress that the industry still depends on the PTC for survival. “If gas prices weren’t so cheap, I’d say that wind might be able to survive without the production tax credit, but I think it’s important that we not lose this industry even as we’re on the brink of it being able to stand alone without any support,” South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) said on a call with reporters yesterday organized by the American Wind Energy Association.

President’s energy policy ‘starts with a commitment to low carbon’ — Moniz

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The president’s “all of the above” energy strategy may embrace conventional fossil fuels along with renewables, but in the future, they are all going to have to fit within a smaller greenhouse gas footprint, according to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “It all starts with a commitment to low carbon,” he said, speaking Friday at the American Council on Renewable Energy’s (ACORE) forum on renewable energy policy. “We need to make sure that all of our resources can compete in a low-carbon future.”