The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition on Monday named Washington Gov. Jay Inslee as the group’s new chairman and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as the coalition’s vice chairman. “States continue to play a leading role developing the nation’s renewable energy resources, and capturing the jobs and economic benefits that these growing clean energy industries provide,” Inslee said in a statement.
“Renewable energy can provide large emissions reductions in a cost-effective manner when part of a balanced energy portfolio and provide significant positive economic returns to a state.” So say the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association in a new “handbook” for states to use in weighing how to include renewable energy in complying with the Clean Power Plan.
The White House today launched an initiative to provide military veterans with skills to join the solar industry as part of an overall goal of training 75,000 solar workers by 2020 — a 50 percent increase from a target set by the Energy Department a year ago.
Planned oil industry layoffs in the U.S. are approaching 100,000 in the past four months with more likely to come. Oil-producing states such as North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are catching the brunt of the cutbacks just as consumers are enjoying cheaper gasoline prices brought on by the 55% drop in crude oil prices since last June. “The entire Midwest from Texas to North Dakota is really feeling the effects,” says Moody’s Analytics economist Aaron Smith.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) will introduce legislation in the coming months to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority to override state resistance to certain power line projects. The proposal would give FERC the authority “as a backstop in the rare case where states have been unable to act on priority projects” that have been selected as part of FERC’s regional transmission planning process under Order No. 1000, Heinrich told attendees at a Southwestern summit on renewable energy transmission development yesterday. Heinrich’s bill could revive a years-long controversy over how much power the federal government should have to issue construction permits for transmission development when a state withholds approval.
While Kenderdine offered few specifics about the report, she outlined the agency’s focus on the challenges the United States’ power lines, railways, pipelines and power plants are facing from a surge of increasingly violent weather, age, competing interests and shifting trends with the discovery of shale gas. DOE has held 14 stakeholder outreach meetings across the country, as well as a meeting in Canada and a conference call with officials in Mexico to discuss the QER.
A proposed tax credit for Nebraska-based renewable energy projects has advanced out of a legislative committee. The Revenue Committee voted 5-2 on Wednesday to send the bill to the full Legislature for debate. The measure by Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha would increase the state credit for facilities that generate electricity with wind and other renewable sources. The measure is designed to attract in-state investors and help Nebraska compete with nearby states that offer tax credits.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a split vote last night rejected PJM Interconnection’s bid to salvage its ability to use demand-response programs, casting the proposal as “premature” given the issue may be taken up by the Supreme Court. FERC Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur and Commissioners Philip Moeller, Colette Honorable and Norman Bay denied PJM’s plan to change the way demand response is treated in annual capacity auctions, changes that would apply for the 2018/2019 delivery year. Commissioner Tony Clark cast the lone dissenting vote, calling on the agency to be proactive.
Germany multinational Siemens announced the results of a “detailed ecological review of its wind turbines.” The study was the result of efforts to maintain “a high degree of transparency” for its customers and the authorities, and was aimed at reviewing “the actual benefits of green power for the environment.” Many critics of wind energy (of which there are not many) often attempt to highlight supposed inadequacies in the manufacturing process which they say belittles the supposed environmental benefits resulting from the operation of wind turbines. Siemens study, however, puts the lie to this suggestion.
The changes in power plant fleets that will be required by U.S. EPA’s Clean Power plan are too much, too fast, and threaten electric affordability and reliability, a group of utilities and state regulators from up and down the nation’s central corridor said here yesterday. The comments came during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final regional hearing on implementation of the proposed rule, which calls for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent over the next 15 years.