The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has just come out with an analysis highlighting the value of wind energy to the state of Texas, indicating that the overall societal benefits of the wind resource add up to about $3.3 billion annually. The gross annual savings to consumers are estimated at $1.2 billion.
For the second time in less than a week, conservative activists are urging Congress not to extend a key renewable energy tax credit, saying that doing so would be tantamount to endorsing President Obama’s climate agenda. Americans for Prosperity today sent a letter to Capitol Hill outlining its objections to the production tax credit, which Senate Democrats hope to extend during the lame-duck session that begins later this week. “Americans for Prosperity requests that you reject any package that includes the expired wind production tax credit,” writes Brent Gardner, AFP’s director of federal affairs, in a letter addressed to all members of the House and Senate. “A vote for the PTC is a vote in support of President Obama’s destructive climate action plan.”
With lawmakers returning today for a postelection session in which tax policy is expected to be high on the agenda, the fight over a key renewable energy credit is picking up steam on and off Capitol Hill, sources said this week. Eliminating the production tax credit has emerged as a top priority in the lame-duck session for a variety of conservative groups that are urging newly empowered Republicans to strip the credit from a broader “tax extenders” package that lawmakers from both parties have said they want to see passed before the end of the year.
Gov. Paul LePage’s re-election Tuesday gives him a huge opportunity to influence Maine’s energy policy as the region’s electricity generation challenges will take center stage during the next four years. Energy policy is an area of high concern for the governor, and one in which his ambitions outstripped his accomplishments during his first term, but not for a lack of trying.
U.S. EPA pushed back yesterday against the electric grid monitor’s warnings about the Clean Power Plan’s threat to reliability, saying the organization’s report ignored major changes already taking place in the nation’s power system. At issue is the North American Electric Reliability Corp. report that portrayed EPA’s proposal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants as a threat to reliable electricity by the plan’s initial compliance deadline in 2020. The report has quickly gained traction with congressional Republicans and industry foes of the EPA climate rule.
What will a GOP-led Congress mean for energy and environment policy? On today’s The Cutting Edge, E&E Daily reporter Nick Juliano discusses his latest reporting from Capitol Hill as Republicans gear up for the shift in power. Juliano talks about the future of U.S. EPA emissions and water regulations, Keystone XL and infrastructure. He also previews the upcoming lame-duck session.
A Republican sweep of the Senate this week has put President Obama’s climate agenda in the cross hairs, with EPA’s proposed rule on power plant carbon emissions as an obvious early target. While control of the Senate may not give Republicans the ability to quash the rule outright, it does indicate that that U.S. EPA and the president will face pushback every step of the way between now and the rule’s completion, according to legal experts who spoke this week on the election’s outcome and its implications for the Clean Power Plan.
Wind power’s Achilles heel, for the time being, is that it’s not yet sustainable on its own — without tax credits, it collapses. According to the American Wind Energy Association, capacity and construction drop a full 84 percent when the wind production tax credit (PTC) isn’t available. In a letter addressed to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the groups warn that Democrats will try to extend the PTC during the lame-duck session. Forget that doing so will save jobs and promote clean energy, they argue: cooperating would be tantamount to endorsing climate action. “Rejecting efforts to extend the PTC is a meaningful way for this Congress to oppose the president’s climate plan,” the letter reads. “A vote for extending the PTC is a vote for the president and the majority leader’s agenda.”
Google — which is already carbon neutral and now trying to power itself with “100 percent renewable energy” — has the longest history here. It has three PPA deals in the U.S. wind sector (in Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas), and two more in Sweden. Microsoft, meanwhile, currently has two PPA deals with wind installments located near its data centers in Texas and Illinois. The agreements provide 285 megawatts of power to help drive both Bing searches and also its other online platforms, according to Brian Janous, the company’s director of energy strategy.
How could political shifts in Washington following this week’s midterm elections impact President Obama’s aggressive climate action agenda? During today’s OnPoint, Roger Martella, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP and the former general counsel at U.S. EPA, discusses the legislative and legal battles ahead for EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Clean Air Act regulations. Martella also explains why he believes the existing source standard will not survive in court.