The race for renewable energy has passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And there’s no going back.The shift occurred in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 gigawatts in new plants that burn fossil fuels.
More than a dozen states Friday said recent remarks from U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy show the agency has already made up its mind about its proposed greenhouse gas standards for existing power plants and reiterated their call for a federal court to block EPA from promulgating the rules. The states, led by West Virginia, are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to issue an “extraordinary writ” prohibiting EPA from finalizing the rules this summer.
U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan will be front and center as state air pollution agency chiefs gather in Providence, R.I., until Wednesday for their spring meeting. EPA air chief Janet McCabe and a contingency of deputies and regional administrators will be on hand to discuss the nuts and bolts of potential compliance strategies for cutting power plant carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030 under the agency’s proposed rule.
MONIZ HAS HIGH HOPES: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Monday that he hopes President Obama and the GOP-controlled Congress can come to terms on a whole slate of issues before Obama’s term expires. Moniz hopes to find Republican cooperation on government funding for infrastructure when he takes the administration’s case to lawmakers on Tuesday, as well as climate change and Iran, where he’s been a member of the team negotiating a nuclear deal.
“I’m sympathetic to the argument that the tax code has gotten too cluttered with too many special-interest provisions. That’s the reason many of us have been clamoring for tax reform. But just because we haven’t cleaned up the tax code in a comprehensive way does not mean that we should pull the rug out from under domestic renewable energy producers,” Grassley said at a policy forum hosted by the American Council on Renewable Energy in Washington, D.C. “Businesses need certainty in the tax code so that they can plan and invest,” he added. “The only sound way to reach this goal is through a comprehensive tax approach. Targeting certain provisions for elimination outside of tax reform makes no sense.”
Today, April 28, there will be a Webcast of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing to receive testimony by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the Administration’s Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. ET in room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Construction is officially underway for the first offshore wind farm in U.S. waters. Offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind on Friday announced that its CEO, Jeffrey Grybowski, is meeting with Rhode Island leaders today in North Kingstown to celebrate early building activities on the Block Island Wind Farm, a planned 30-megawatt, five-turbine project located approximately 3 miles southeast of Rhode Island’s Block Island.
With some of the ladders, platforms and railings already made by Quonset-based Specialty Diving Services visible inside a warehouse behind her, Raimondo said the state has an opportunity to position itself as a leader in offshore renewable energy. “Not only are we going to create jobs,” Governor Raimondo said, “but we’re going to rebrand ourselves as being more innovative and, over time, make Rhode Island a place that has lower energy costs, more diversified energy supply and greener energy.”
Far more jobs have been created in wind and solar businesses in recent years than were lost in the collapse of the coal industry, and renewable-energy companies expect record growth in the United States this year. “I started this company in 2009, and I have seen tremendous growth since then,” said John Billingsley, chief executive of Tri-Global Energy in Dallas. Billingsley built his business on wind energy, which generated more than 10 percent of the electricity in Texas last year. He said he is hiring more workers to expand into solar power.
Most important, United States wind energy reduced carbon pollution by 125 million metric tons in 2014, the equivalent yearly emissions of 26 million cars. As the lowest cost zero-emission energy source, wind energy must play a critical role in tackling the most pressing challenge facing all of Earth’s lands: climate change.