The White House announced new partners in a federal initiative to broaden Americans’ access to solar power — particularly in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods — with more than $500 million in pledged funds. The program is part of President Obama’s broader climate plan heading into the Paris climate negotiations. Last week, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said lower costs of key technologies like solar — enabled by research and development — would be a “central theme” from the United States at the U.N. climate conference.
Large wind and solar farms can compete in the power market even with low natural gas prices and will drive the adoption of technology to store renewable energy, according to an analysis by financial advisers Lazard Ltd. The cost to build a utility-scale solar photovoltaic plant has fallen by about 80 percent since 2009 while wind projects have dropped by 60 percent, the financial advisory and asset management company said in a report. Lower costs make large renewable power projects competitive with conventional generators without subsidies.
Portland, Ore., gets it — adapting to climate change, that is. Local decisionmakers in the liberal city, with a bustling population of just over 600,000 people, reported very high levels of concern about climate change and advanced adaptation plans, according to an analysis undertaken by researchers at George Washington University (GW).
House Democrats have introduced a bill to extend the expired renewable production tax credit for one year while expanding the qualification requirements for a separate key incentive for solar and other renewables. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) yesterday introduced H.R. 4040, the “Bridge to a Clean Energy Future Act of 2015,” which would extend the PTC and an assortment of other breaks for two years.
Apple unveiled plans over the weekend to power all of its Singapore operations with renewable energy — the first project of its type in Southeast Asia and part of a broader clean energy push this year from the technology giant.
n experimental offshore wind turbine being developed by a University of Maine-led consortium has won a $3.7 million federal award, Maine’s two U.S. senators will announce Monday, reviving ambitions that the state could be the home of a floating, deep-water wind farm and a new clean-energy industry. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King learned last week that the Department of Energy is committing the additional money to the Maine Aqua Ventus project.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) is arguably the Democratic governor in the toughest spot as he tries to comply with the Clean Power Plan without harming his state’s economy. Bullock’s state faces significant emissions reductions under the plan. Other states also face strong targets but are controlled by Republicans who may have opposed the plan anyway. Bullock has said the plan is unfair to Montana but is still necessary at the national level.
Energy policy in the nation is evolving, and state commissions need to lead the change, rather than stand in the way of progress. The federal Clean Power Plan establishes emission rate goals for each state. The power sector is the nation’s largest source of carbon emissions, which are contributing to global climate change. In the short term, it’s easy to understand why farmers may not want wind turbines whipping up the air over their land and changing life as they know it. But if rural landowners in Missouri don’t give a little and embrace ways to save the Earth from global warming, more than farming as they know it could be at stake.
The Senate yesterday voted for two resolutions that would kill U.S. EPA’s carbon rules for power plants, the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate change agenda. Both the resolution to block the Clean Power Plan for existing power plants and the resolution to block the agency’s rule for new power plants passed by a vote of 52-46.
Proponents believe their defiance will have diplomatic repercussions. At the summit meeting in Paris beginning Nov. 30 and sponsored by the United Nations, Mr. Obama will try to broker a historic accord that would commit every nation to policies to halt climate change. The strength of the American position at the talks lies in the enactment of the emission-curbing E.P.A. rule — the first major climate change policy put forth by the United States. By voting to block the rule, lawmakers want to telegraph to the world that Congress does not back the president’s climate pledges. The House is expected to pass a companion resolution by early December, forcing a veto just as the negotiations in Paris are beginning.