Texas’ state Senate voted yesterday to shut down a renewable energy program that had far exceeded its production goals. Established in 1999, the initiative aimed for 10,000 megawatts of wind and solar power by 2025, but Texas reached that in 2010.
Iowa’s wind energy industry employed about 6,000 people last year, about 2,000 more than in 2013, a report Wednesday showed. Iowa’s wind energy employment was second only to Texas, which put 17,000 people to work, the American Wind Energy Association reported. Altogether, about 73,000 Americans were employed in the wind industry last year, adding about 23,000 jobs since 2013. Iowa has seen the development of some large wind energy manufacturing facilities in recent years, including Siemens in Fort Madison, and Trinity Structural Towers and TPI Composites, both in Newton.
Portland, Ore.-based PacifiCorp is looking at joining the wholesale electricity market headed by the California grid operator. PacifiCorp, which serves about 1.8 million customers in Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and a small portion of California, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the California Independent Operator to “explore full participation in the ISO as a Participating Transmission Owner.” The agreement “paves the way for performing a joint study on the feasibility and benefits of PacifiCorp joining the only competitive wholesale market in the West,” the pact said. The ISO manages about 80 percent of the energy flow in California.
PacifiCorp, part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is considering joining California’s power grid, expanding the state’s access to renewable energy. The company is studying the feasibility of becoming a transmission-owning member of the state-wide network operated by California Independent System Operator Corp., the company and the Folsom, California-based ISO said in statements on Tuesday. The Portland utility would become one of only two transmission owners outside of California to be a part of the system.
President Obama’s most far-reaching regulation to slow climate change will have its first day in court on today, the beginning of what is expected to be a multiyear legal battle over the policy that Mr. Obama hopes to leave as his signature environmental achievement. In two separate but related cases to be jointly argued in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the country’s two largest coal companies, along with 14 coal-producing states, have challenged a proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulation, which the agency issued under the authority of the Clean Air Act, to curb planet-warming carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. If put in effect as E.P.A. officials have proposed, the rule is intended to fundamentally transform the nation’s power sector, shuttering hundreds of coal plants and expanding renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
“I can’t let my South Dakota friends feel neglected,” the president told KSFY anchor Nancy Naeve, announcing he would be the commencement speaker at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, S.D., on May 8.
SolarCity, the country’s hungriest solar installer, and Nest, the maker of the highest-profile thermostat, announced a partnership yesterday that hints at how rooftop solar and the connected home might play together. The program, offered in California, gives a free Nest thermostat to the first 10,000 homeowners in the state who sign up for solar panels from SolarCity and also agree to be part of Nest’s growing ecosystem of connected home devices. As soon as this summer, the two may start to link, seeking energy efficiencies when the sun is shining.
Harvard University President Drew Faust convened a panel yesterday led by seven experts on climate policies and energy sources and anchored by a star of the journalism world, Charlie Rose. It came in response to mounting pressure from Harvard students, faculty and alumni on the university to divest its $35.9 billion endowment — the largest of any college or university worldwide — from investments in coal, oil and natural gas companies.
Developers behind a cross-state transmission line project submitted plans to Illinois regulators for the portion of the line that crosses the state from Missouri to Indiana. Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners has been working for years on several large electricity transmission projects, including the 780-mile Grain Belt Express line. Clean Line aims to cash in on wind energy generation in the Great Plains by building the infrastructure to wire it to population centers further east.
Germany’s model, which heavily leans on renewables, is slowly being copied from California to China as wind and solar upstage traditional fuels like nuclear and coal. “Our job has become much more complex,” Scheibner said in an interview from the control center outside Berlin owned by 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, one of Germany’s four main grid operators. “It’s not an easy mission, and it will cost money. But if you are doing it consciously, then it will be doable. We have already come so far.