Utilities face similar challenges across the U.S. as the cost of solar power and natural gas generation falls. Big corporate energy users such as Amazon. com, Apple, and Google have cut deals over the past two years to buy power directly from solar plants and wind farms.
US senators from Massachusetts and Rhode Island on Wednesday introduced legislation that would extend the 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for offshore wind through 2025. In December 2015, president Barack Obama signed into law an omnibus and tax reform bill that extended both the ITC and the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind until 2019. However, given the longer planning and permitting times for offshore wind development, no such project is seen to qualify for the tax credits by that time. That is why the Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development (WIND) Act is being introduced, says a press statement.
Another wind farm has been approved for Antelope County, over objections from some residents. The county Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to let a Chicago-based company erect 160 turbines near Neligh (NEE’-lee). The company, Invenergy, already operates a wind farm in the Elgin area.
In February of 2001, then California Governor Gray Davis stood at the site of Calpine Corp’s new Sutter natural gas power plant and unveiled his plan to fast-track construction of similar stations to add 20,000 megawatts of modern, efficient generation to the state in three years. Natural gas, Davis said, was “the most environmentally friendly, clean, appropriate fuel” to help the state move beyond the energy crisis it had just endured and enable its 34 million residents “to enjoy the good life that California represents.” Today, the plants inaugurated that day are among the casualties of a monumental shift in the U.S. energy landscape.
Utility National Grid is to kick off the installation of a 20km submarine cable to connect the 30MW Block Island wind farm to the Rhode Island mainland. “We have not been able to pull the cable ashore but we expect to start tomorrow,” a National Grid spokesman told reNEWS after rough seas halted recent work on the wire.
A federal appeals court yesterday rejected a challenge from environmental groups to a large wind farm project east of San Diego. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the Interior Department adequately weighed the environment impacts of Tule Wind LLC’s project. Groups including the Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps were challenging the agency’s 2011 environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as the proposed project’s impact on migratory birds.
The Obama administration said today a federal appeals court’s decision knocking down a challenge to a California wind farm supports its arguments in another case involving migratory bird protections. The Justice Department sent a letter to another federal appeals court that’s weighing a separate lawsuit against the long-stalled Cape Wind offshore wind project planned for coastal Massachusetts. The DOJ urged the Washington, D.C.-based court to agree with their counterparts in California.
The House Rules Committee took triple-barreled aim at the Obama administration’s environment and energy agenda last night, clearing the way for floor votes this week on a bill to delay U.S. EPA’s new ground-level ozone standard, as well as two resolutions offering symbolic opposition to potential climate change policies. Administration regulations are “killing our jobs,” Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said shortly before the panel voted 7-4 along party lines to advance all three measures.
Whether or not the Senate launches the first conference committee on energy legislation in a decade is in the hands of Senate Democrats, who continue to express concerns with the House’s revised version. Energy and Natural Resources Committee Democrats say legislation the House passed before recess is laden with veto-bait and doesn’t bode well for efforts to reconcile the competing measures.
Key House and Senate lawmakers are planning to meet next week to discuss how an energy conference committee would operate, as Democrats in the upper chamber continue to express doubts about the prospects of reconciling competing bills. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and co-sponsor of the Senate package, S. 2012, told E&E Daily about the likely meeting.