Norman Bay will fill a fifth seat when members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission testify before a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee next week, the committee confirmed yesterday. The Senate approved Bay last week for a four-year term as a commissioner on FERC, but the White House has not sworn him in yet, which led to uncertainty about whether Bay would appear with four other FERC members for an Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing on grid reliability under the proposed U.S. EPA regulations on carbon emissions for existing power plants set for Tuesday
The Sierra Club announced today it is launching online advertisements targeting nine more House Republicans to criticize the lack of action to renew a key clean energy tax break. The campaign continues the green group’s efforts to secure an extension to the production tax credit, or PTC, which expired at the end of last year. The credit supports wind, geothermal and other renewable energy sources and typically enjoys broad bipartisan support, but advocates have struggled to secure an extension amid intense criticism from conservative critics who say the PTC is too expensive and has outlived its necessity. Advocates say the credit should be reinstated because it supports job creation and energy innovation.
The wind is so relentless that a week can go by before it is calm enough for a crane operator to install the 30-ton blades atop the 260-foot towers at the Panhandle 2 wind farm here. It’s worth the wait; a single turbine at the farm can produce 40 percent more energy than an average one. But turning wind into electricity is one thing; moving the energy to a profitable market is another. For years, the wind industry has been hampered by such a severe lack of transmission lines that when the wind is strong, a local power surplus forces some machines to be shut down. Now, Texas is out to change that by conducting a vast experiment that might hold lessons for the rest of the United States. This year, a sprawling network of new high-voltage power lines was completed, tying the panhandle area and West Texas to the millions of customers around Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Houston.
Brownback made the comments around 10 a.m. Just before 5:30 p.m., his spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, issued a statement saying that Brownback’s remarks were aimed at phasing out federal tax credits for wind energy production. “The Governor made a comment intending to say he supports phasing out production tax credits (not RPS) and emphasized his continuing support for all forms of energy production in Kansas,” Hawley said. “Remember that in each case, he said ‘I’m a Kansan’ first and that he is focused on doing what is right for Kansans and Kansas businesses.” The federal production tax credit expired in 2013, but projects under construction before January 2014 remained eligible.
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Senator James M. Inhofeof Oklahoma are among the most vocal Republican skeptics of the science that burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming, but a new study to be released Thursday found that their states would be among the biggest economic winners under a regulation proposed by President Obama to fight climate change. he study, conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Rhodium Group, both research organizations, concluded that the regulation would cut demand for electricity from coal — the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution — but create robust new demand fornatural gas, which has just half the carbon footprint of coal. It found that the demand for natural gas would, in turn, drive job creation, corporate revenue and government royalties in states that produce it, which, in addition to Oklahoma and Texas, include Arkansas and Louisiana.
The continued expiration of the U.S. production tax credits for energy projects has caused renewable energy developers to focus on international projects. The production tax credits for renewable energy projects expired at the end of 2013 and haven’t yet been renewed, as has happened when the credits have expired before. Jim Adams, president of Natural Power’s North American operations supports the continuation of the tax credits, but what he wants more is stability. “If it’s going to go away, let it go so we can figure out what’s next,” Adams said. “It is grossly unfair that the renewable energy industry, especially wind, has been subject to these uncertainties.”
The debate over whether wind turbines proposed for bucolic Somerset County across the Chesapeake is not dead in St. Mary’s, or in Washington. Texas-based wind company Pioneer Green has plans to build 25 turbines, each potentially nearly 700 feet tall, near the bay shoreline. Meanwhile, Navy and industry leaders in St. Mary’s fear those windmills could interfere with sensitive radar tests done, in part, to determine the stealth of jet aircraft.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission once again granted its approval to a multimillion-dollar joint venture to develop wind-generation projects after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court overturned its initial approval and sent the case back for reconsideration. During deliberations Tuesday, PUC Chairman Thomas Welch said he did not see any reason why the joint venture between First Wind, Maine’s largest wind-power generator, and Emera Inc. of Nova Scotia, an energy distributor that owns two utilities in northern and eastern Maine, does not pass muster even under the court’s stricter guidelines.
A proposed wind farm in Lincoln County has led to controversy over the last few months. A Minnesota lawyer, representing an anti-commercial wind farm group know as WE-CARE South Dakota, went in front of the Lincoln County Commission Tuesday to talk about some concerns. The potential wind farm could have as many as 500 wind turbines built in Lincoln County. According to Dakota Plains Energy Principle Rob Johnson, the energy created here would generate electricity in up to 13 states. He says the area is great for producing wind energy, but others say the negatives outweigh the positives.
The role the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission played in preparing a proposed EPA rule to regulate carbon emissions at existing power plants as well as how the agency has determined the rule will affect electricity service will be the focus of a subpanel hearing next week, the Energy and Commerce Committee announced yesterday. The hearing is part of a series being held by the Energy and Power Subcommittee since EPA announced the draft Clean Power Plan on June 2.