Iowa Senate debate touches on RFS, EPA regs, high court vacancy

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, October 21st, 2016

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley touted his work to maintain the renewable fuel standard while criticizing his Democratic challenger for supporting U.S. EPA regulations, as he faced off last night with former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge in the duo’s first debate. Democrats had hoped to make the Iowa Senate race competitive in the face of Senate Republicans’ refusal to hold a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, but Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has maintained a double-digit lead over Judge.

Construction wraps up on largest solar facility in Midwest

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Friday, October 21st, 2016

Construction has wrapped up on a $180 million solar farm in Minnesota that’s billed as the largest single solar facility in the Midwest and one of the largest in the country. The North Star Solar project in Chisago County just north of the Twin Cities comprises more than 440,000 solar panels on 1 ½ square miles of land. It’s expected to produce enough energy to power more than 20,000 homes, starting in December.

Leaked audio raises temperature in Fla. solar fight

Source: Kristi E. Swartz, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, October 21st, 2016

packers of a rooftop solar initiative railed against Florida’s largest electric utilities yesterday after leaked audio tape revealed their strategy to mask a controversial ballot initiative as pro-solar. A wide range of solar advocates, including the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and Debbie Dooley, a tea party activist, attacked Florida’s regulated electric companies for deliberately misleading voters to support what’s known as Amendment 1.

Clinton’s energy ‘open borders’ already underway

Source: Umair Irfan and Scott Waldman, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, October 21st, 2016

“We already have electricity trade across both of our borders,” said Nathan Serota, a senior analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “That already happens.” There is Canadian hydropower imported into states such as New York, and proposed transmission lines would bring more hydropower into New England. The government of Quebec wants to build out hydropower resources, so more clean power could be imported into the United States from its northern neighbor. The greatest challenge, however, is building out the billions of dollars of transmission lines that would be needed to support such infrastructure.

Target zooms past Wal-Mart in installations

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Move over, Wal-Mart. For the first time ever, retail giant Target Corp. is the top corporate installer of solar power in the United States. The discount chain surged from 11th to first in annual rankings from the Solar Energy Industries Association of the largest business adopters of solar in terms of overall installed capacity. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. dominated the top spot for the past four years.

Big business likes wind power, study finds

Source: David Ferris, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 20th, 2016

A survey of big companies that have invested heavily in renewable energy has found that wind farms are their top choice, mainly because they pay for themselves more quickly. The study also found that most of these companies have set concrete targets for electrifying themselves with renewable energy, with a majority having goals to do so in less than a decade.

Rooftop panel benefits to ‘society’ outstrip net-metering costs, report says

Source: Edward Klump, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 20th, 2016

A new report says homes and businesses that turn to solar energy tend to provide more benefits to the electric grid than they receive from net metering. The document, released yesterday by the Environment America Research and Policy Center, relied on 16 other analyses to form a counterargument to utilities that say solar owners aren’t paying fair amounts.

Energy storage industry wants tax credits enjoyed by wind, solar

Source: By Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune • Posted: Thursday, October 20th, 2016

They may not get it this year, but boosters of energy storage technologies want their sector to get the same tax credits that the federal government extends to the wind and solar industries. “It would be a good economic investment for us as a government and as a nation to invest in advancing these technologies,” said Matt Roberts, executive director for the industry’s trade group, the Energy Storage Association. Under a bill introduced by Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., qualifying energy storage technologies such as batteries, thermal energy storage and regenerative fuel cells would get a 30 percent investment tax credit.

Wind power to increase as countries ‘get serious’ post-Paris

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Wind turbines could supply 20 percent of the world’s electricity as countries invest billions in low- and zero-carbon energy sources to comply with international treaties on greenhouse gases and climate change, according to new projections. In its latest biennial “Global Wind Energy Outlook” report, the Brussels-based Global Wind Energy Council said wind power could account for more than 2,100 gigawatts of generation capacity by 2030. That would attract roughly $220 billion in annual investment while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3.3 billion tons per year.

Clean Line closing in on final order with PSC

Source: By Travis Zimpere, Missouri Times • Posted: Thursday, October 20th, 2016

The Grain Belt Express Clean Line wind energy project has made significant steps towards getting the final green light from the Public Service Commission. After it stalled in July, the PSC last week gave the go-ahead to finalize a public hearing schedule, which means that a final order on construction of Clean Line could happen as early as next spring. In other words, the case has officially started with the commission.