Oil prices took another sharp turn downward on Monday to levels not seen since the depths of the 2009 recession. Several international banks predicted even lower prices later this year because of an oversupplied global crude market. The latest daily downward spiral of more than 5 percent has brought several crude oil benchmarks down by more than 55 percent since June in one of the fastest drops ever for the volatile commodity. The drop came even as Venezuela and Iran coordinated their efforts to persuade OPEC to cut production; Canadian Natural Resources, a major global producer, announced deep investment cuts; and American companies dropped their rig drilling count at quickening speed.
How will U.S. EPA’s move to delay its final power plant standards affect the future of the regulations? On today’s The Cutting Edge, Greenwire reporter Jean Chemnick discusses the political and legal maneuvering behind the delay. She also talks about the agency’s strategy in announcing plans to release a model rule for state compliance with the Clean Power Plan.
With the Cape Wind project on the ropes, the industry’s future in Massachusetts may rest on a federal wind power auction later this month for a sprawling area off Martha’s Vineyard. Twelve companies have qualified to bid Jan. 29 as the federal government auctions four commercial leases for 742,000 acres of sea roughly 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The power generated, if leased and used by the industry, could provide electricity for about 1.4 million homes, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said.
America’s Offshore Wind Energy Ambitions Take A Hit After Massachusetts Utilities Ditch Cape Cod Proposal
In the race to build America’s first offshore wind farm, the largest contender suffered a significant blow this week after two Massachusetts power companies pulled out of the project. The reversal threatens the broader U.S. effort to bring renewable energy to the ocean, a feat that European nations and China have long since accomplished. The Cape Wind project planned near Cape Cod would install 130 commercial-scale wind turbines in the Nantucket Sound. The $2.5 billion offshore project has been in the works for 14 years and struggled with a host of financial, regulatory and legal challenges. But the loss of the two utility contracts could be enough to sideline the project for good, experts told the media.
The two largest electric utilities in Massachusetts have backed out of a plan to buy most of the power that was slated to be generated by the proposed Cape Wind turbine project, dealing a potentially serious blow to the long-delayed wind farm off the state’s coast. National Grid and NStar, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities , were slated to buy a combined 77.5% of the output from the 130 turbine, 468-megawatt wind project, which isn’t yet under construction. But they announced late Tuesday they had backed out, saying the project had missed financing and construction commitments it was supposed to hit by Dec. 31.
A Senate vote scheduled for this evening on whether to move forward with debating legislation to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada is expected to unleash weeks of congressional debate on a broad range of energy and environment issues. With the a promise of regular order from new Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the 5:30 p.m. roll call will be followed by a flurry of amendments on issues like energy efficiency and climate change.
Companies that collectively own two Minnesota wind farms are seeking bankruptcy protection. With 11 turbines, the community-owned Minwind farms went online in 2002 and 2004, and were profitable until 2012. The farms are still operating, but Minwind has told federal regulators that the companies cannot afford maintenance on the turbines, which includes repairing main bearings.
2014 marked the first year renewable energy became the primary source of electricity in Germany, according to Agora Energiewende, a Berlin think tank. Renewable energy made up nearly 26 percent of the country’s energy, up almost 2 percent from 2013. Most of this energy was derived from wind power and biomass.
“Science is under attack like it has never been before,” McCarthy said. “Now is not the time for us to hide or to begin to be more quiet. It’s the time for us to embrace this challenge.”
She added, “I can remember how the world was when I was a child. If you don’t think it’s changed, you’re kind of nuts.”
Separately, Obama is also expected to propose a new training fund that would provide additional grant dollars for technical training programs. The fund would underwrite the start-up of 100 centers for teaching workers the skills they need to secure jobs in high-growth fields like energy, IT, and advanced manufacturing. And Obama will announce the establishment of a new manufacturing hub at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville designed to create new materials lighter and stronger than steel. The new materials could be used to lighten cars and trucks — increasing their fuel efficiency — or to create bigger wind turbines.