Comment: An opportunity for Montana to shape our energy future

Source: By Jeff Fox, Great Falls Tribune • Posted: Monday, September 14th, 2015

Montana’s clean energy developers will also benefit from the certainty of a state-developed compliance plan. Montana has one of the best wind energy resources in the nation. We have already developed about 670 megawatts of wind energy in the state, creating hundreds of jobs, and millions of dollars in rural county tax revenues and landowner payments. But that development is a mere fraction of the wind energy potential that is economically viable in Montana. Unfortunately, our wind energy resource has been held back from greater development by an inability to precisely match energy demand with new energy transmission, a particularly tricky problem for expensive and time consuming transmission projects. In order to successfully develop our wind energy resource we will need greater cooperation, creativity and openness to Montana wind from the region’s largest transmission provider, the Bonneville Power Administration.

Wind industry pushes back against PTC opposition

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, September 14th, 2015

Hoping to woo a rested and reconvened Congress, the wind power industry yesterday opened a new front in its effort to extend the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind generation, crediting the subsidy for driving down the costs of clean energy while aiding in the U.S. economic recovery since 2010. “The PTC has been an effective, market-based policy that has enabled renewable energy development to meet the demands of American consumers,” the American Wind Energy Association said in a nine-page white paper. “While successful, however, the policy is still needed to encourage private sector investment in an industry that is still a relative newcomer when compared to traditional sources of energy.”

California Legislature Passes Bill Setting Target of 50 Percent Renewables by 2030

Source: By Pete Miller, NRDC • Posted: Monday, September 14th, 2015

On Friday, the California Legislature passed SB 350 requiring utilities to procure at least 50 percent of their electricity from eligible renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by 2030. This legislation, which is expected to be signed into law later this month by Governor Jerry Brown, is a historic step in the state’s groundbreaking plan to cut climate-warming pollution, and ranks among the most significant environmental bills in California history.

Comment: Another smear by Big Oil on wind power

Source: By Michael Goggin, The Hill • Posted: Friday, September 11th, 2015

Koch-funded Kathleen Hartnett White’s Aug. 31 commentary on the Clean Power Plan ignores how low-cost wind energy helps states cost-effectively and reliably cut carbon pollution.
Unable to criticize American wind energy, among the lowest-cost and most productive in the world, White instead focuses on Germany. Her argument has little relevance as U.S. wind plants are nearly twice as productive as those in Germany, allowing the cost of wind in the U.S. to be a fraction of what it is in Europe.

BLM strategy aims to spark development in Ariz. desert

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 11th, 2015

The Bureau of Land Management has released a draft regional mitigation strategy designed to help solar power developers offset environmental damage caused by building commercial-scale projects across western Arizona. The focus of the draft mitigation strategy centers on three federally designated solar energy zones (SEZs) on the state’s west side. The goal is to reduce industry uncertainty by identifying mitigation strategies upfront, thus enticing energy developers to build utility-scale solar projects inside the three zones.

Advocates say Texas is squandering its sunshine

Source: Edward Klump, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 11th, 2015

Texas earned a top 10 ranking in cumulative U.S. solar power capacity through 2014, but the state didn’t crack the top 20 in a per-capita calculation, according to a new study. The report, written by representatives of the Frontier Group and Environment America Research and Policy Center, was released last week and touted in the Lone Star State by Environment Texas.

Reid takes the long view on clean energy — and Nev. prospers

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 11th, 2015

Heading south on U.S. Route 95 from Las Vegas, drivers gradually become aware of a vast, shimmering presence far off in the distance. Continue on a few miles farther down into the valley, and the source of the shiny apparition becomes apparent. Tucked between the highway and the peaks of the McCullough Range is the Copper Mountain Solar complex, a sprawling collection of panels stretching across 3,000 acres of this high-desert valley. By catching the sun’s rays — and it’s almost always sunny here — the facility generates enough electricity to power 142,000 homes in nearby Southern California.

What Washington state’s wildfires tell us about climate change

Source: By Michael Sainato, contributor, The Hill • Posted: Friday, September 11th, 2015

Wildfires are increasing and wildfire season is getting longer in the Western United States. As the global climate warms, dry areas are becoming drier due to higher spring and summer temperatures and earlier snowmelts facilitating drought. These conditions have increased the intensity and long-burning wildfires currently occurring throughout Washington state. This disaster should serve as a wake-up call to everyone who refutes the existence of climate change.

Brown, lawmakers bow to political pressure, remove petroleum mandate in climate bill

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 11th, 2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and state lawmakers are giving up their plans to reduce petroleum use by 50 percent by 2030. The mandate was included in S.B. 350, a bill being shepherded through the Legislature by Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D) in the waning days of the state’s legislative session. The goal was perhaps the most ambitious of the three that Brown announced upon taking office in January for his fourth term. The other two — to increase the state’s share of renewable energy to 50 percent and to double the efficiency of existing buildings by 2030 — still remain in the bill, which must pass the Legislature by today.

Policy, Not Sunshine Key To Solar Success

Source: By Energy Matters • Posted: Thursday, September 10th, 2015

The USA’s Top 10 solar states are not those blessed with the most sunlight according to a new report, but those that have adopted strong support policies to encourage home owners to go solar. That’s the key conclusion of “Lighting the Way III: The Top States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2014”, from research group Environment Massachusetts, in conjunction with the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).