‘The wild west of wind’: Republicans push Texas as unlikely green energy leader

Source: By Tom Dart, The Guardian • Posted: Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

The welcome sign that greets motorists as they arrive in Sweetwater along Interstate 20, a three-hour drive west of Dallas, is not in the shape of an oil derrick or pumpjack, though: it’s a wind turbine blade bearing the town’s motto, “Life is sweet in Texas”. For ranchers facing ruin until major international companies planted forests of 300ft-tall turbines among their crops and cattle, the wind boom has provided regular income that has allowed them to maintain their land and keep it in the family. For Texas, this most Republican-dominated, oil-rich and fracking-friendly of states has found itself with the improbable status of being a national leader in this growing form of renewable energy.

The South Has Been Slow To Harness Its Wind, But That’s Changing

Source: By Sarah McCammon, National Public Radio • Posted: Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Wind power is the largest source of renewable energy in the United States. But a broad swath of the country has had no large, commercial wind farms — until now. A new one with 104 towers is up and running near Elizabeth City, N.C., where it spans 22,000 acres. Horace Pritchard is one of about 60 landowners who are leasing property to the project known as the Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East. Developers say it will generate enough power for 61,000 homes per year — power that the Internet retailer Amazon has agreed to buy from the electric grid.

Renewable energy draws increasing Republican support. That could shift climate politics.

Source: By David Roberts, VOX • Posted: Sunday, February 19th, 2017

The letters themselves are not that big a deal — the coalition has been around for several years and sent many similar letters to Obama — but they are evidence of a robust, enduring strain of bipartisanship on this issue (one that, unlike the carbon tax, commands support from more-than-zero Republican officeholders). The difference is simple. Climate change is, to most people, entirely an abstraction, a matter of tribal positioning. Some states and cities are beginning to face practical effects of warming, and of course all of them ought to be planning for it in coming decades, but in practice, very few individuals or elected officials feel it as an immediate concern. There’s little cost to ideological posturing. Renewable energy is different. It is a burgeoning business, attracting both white collar and manufacturing jobs, channeling investment to parts of these states that haven’t seen much economic development recently, and reducing electricity rates.

Senate Confirms Scott Pruitt as E.P.A. Head

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Sunday, February 19th, 2017

The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt on Friday to run the Environmental Protection Agency, putting a seasoned legal opponent of the agencyat the helm of President Trump’s efforts to dismantle major regulations on climate change and clean water — and to cut the size and authority of the government’s environmental enforcer.

Proposed Legislation To Limit Wind Farms Around Military Bases Will Cost Jobs, Hurt Rural Economies

Source: By Peter Kelly-Detwiler, Forbes • Posted: Friday, February 17th, 2017

Despite these undeniable advantages, the future of U.S. wind energy in the United States has recently been threatened by proposed legislation – at both the state and national level – to limit the amount of wind turbines that could be installed near U.S. military bases.

Paradigm Shift: Wind Energy Can Be the New Baseload

Source: By Kelley Welf, Morning Consult   • Posted: Friday, February 17th, 2017

Exciting news came at a recent energy policy forum in Minnesota when David Saggau, CEO of Great River Energy, which provides energy to 28 electric co-ops in Minnesota, stated that he sees wind quickly becoming the new baseload. “In the past, we tended to think of our coal resources as baseload and every other resource being supplemental to that,” said Saggau. “I would suggest to you that wind is quickly becoming the new baseload; and to be viable going forward, all other sources must be flexible enough to be supplemental to the wind.”

States jockey for jobs in nascent U.S. industry

Source: Saqib Rahim, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, February 17th, 2017

To encourage the United States to get into the game, the Obama administration auctioned off 1 million acres of federal waters. Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and even California are exploring the resource. But the offshore wind industry, and the environmentalists and labor unions that support it, has pressed for more. It has urged states to take after Europe: to commit to a large-scale, long-term pipeline of projects. The “magic number” for that pipeline remains debated. But advocates say it was that scale that helped drive down costs in Europe and birth the industry there.

Trump urged to back offshore

Source: By Renewable Energy News • Posted: Friday, February 17th, 2017

A bipartisan coalition of 20 governors has called on President Donald Trump to help grow offshore wind energy in the US. In a letter sent by the Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition (GWSC), they asked the Trump administration to adopt comprehensive long-term offshore wind development legislation. Specifically, the governors said a long-term extension of a 30% investment tax credit is “critical” to incentivise development.

EPA staff told to prepare for Trump executive orders: sources

Source: By David Shepardson, Timothy Gardner and Richard Valdmanis, Reuters • Posted: Friday, February 17th, 2017

Staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been told that President Donald Trump is preparing a handful of executive orders to reshape the agency, to be signed once a new administrator is confirmed, two sources who attended the meeting told Reuters on Wednesday. A senior EPA official who had been briefed by members of the Trump administration mentioned the executive orders at a meeting of staffers in the EPA’s Office of General Counsel on Tuesday, but did not provide details about what the orders would say, said the sources, who asked not to be named.

E.P.A. Workers Try to Block Pruitt in Show of Defiance

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Friday, February 17th, 2017

Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency have been calling their senators to urge them to vote on Friday against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s contentious nominee to run the agency, a remarkable display of activism and defiance that presages turbulent times ahead for the E.P.A. Many of the scientists, environmental lawyers and policy experts who work in E.P.A. offices around the country say the calls are a last resort for workers who fear a nominee selected to run an agency he has made a career out of fighting — by a president who has vowed to “get rid of” it.