50% clean power ‘doable’ for North America by 2025 — EIA chief

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

The head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration today called a goal by North American leaders to reach 50 percent carbon-free power by 2025 “doable.” Speaking at an event to discuss his agency’s Annual Energy Outlook, EIA Chief Adam Sieminski said the United States, Canada and Mexico are expected to reach 46 percent power from renewables and nuclear by 2025.

China’s Idled Wind Farms May Spell Trouble for Renewable Energy

Source: By Bloomberg News • Posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

The researchers point to a myriad of other reasons for the shortcomings of turbines in China, ranging from lower turbine quality, grid connection problems and the failure of grid operators to transmit wind power to users because they prefer other types of energy sources such as coal. “Improvements in both technology choices and the policy environment are critical in addressing these challenges,” the authors of the report concluded.

Senators approve bill to block international climate funding

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Senate appropriators today advanced a fiscal 2017 spending plan for the State Department and federal foreign operations that would restrict funding for international climate change efforts. According to summaries of the draft bill made available this afternoon, the legislation would bar any federal funding for the U.N. fund to help poor countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Invenergy CEO: PTC phase-down may not count for much

Source: By Karl-Erik Stromsta in New York, Globe Renewable Energy News • Posted: Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

The idea behind the PTC phase-out was to spark a near-term investment boom without simultaneously creating a demand cliff. Developers with advanced projects would rush to qualify for the full PTC in 2016, but earlier-stage projects would still be able to secure a substantial fraction of the PTC over the coming few years – or so the thinking went. But major wind developers are now questioning whether many projects will get built based on reduced PTC levels after all, given the intensely competitive landscape in the US power sector today.

Senate bill would boost Massachusetts’ reliance on renewable energy

Source: By ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Leaders in the Massachusetts Senate have unveiled legislation designed to ramp up the state’s reliance on renewable energy sources, including offshore wind and hydropower. The plan, detailed Friday, establishes more aggressive energy targets than a similar bill approved by the House this month.

Community solar exploding in Minn.

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Ellen Anderson, director of the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, can reduce Minnesota’s landmark community solar law into three escalating numbers: 20, 430 and 1,003. The first number, 20, is the projected megawatts that the state’s largest electric utility, Xcel Energy Inc., said it expected to approve in community solar capacity over the first two years of the program’s life since it was enacted in 2013.

Senators look to make progress on energy, spending

Source: Geof Koss and George Cahlink, E&E reporters • Posted: Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Senate negotiators will continue talks on a possible conference with the House on energy legislation this week, along with pressing forward on spending legislation and Puerto Rico relief. Senate Republican leaders are still hoping to complete as many spending bills as possible before the long summer recess. And energy bill boosters see the measure as a potential win during an election year. But gun control debates and passing legislation to shore up Puerto Rico’s finances are stressing an already stretched calendar.

Climate Change High on Agenda as Obama and Trudeau Meet for Summit

Source: By IAN AUSTEN and CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

The leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada will announce a North America-wide climate partnership, syncing their national policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. They will pledge a joint goal of generating 50 percent of North America’s electricity from zero-carbon sources by 2025, up from 37 percent today. White House officials said that power mix would include wind, solar, hydropower, nuclear energy and coal or gas power paired with carbon capture technology. They will also announce that Mexico will join an existing agreement between the United States and Canada to collectively regulate leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that escapes from oil and gas wells.

Study Links 6.5 Million Deaths Each Year to Air Pollution

Source: By STANLEY REED, New York Times • Posted: Monday, June 27th, 2016

A sobering report released on Monday by the International Energy Agency says air pollution has become a major public health crisis leading to around 6.5 million deaths each year, with “many of its root causes and cures” found in the energy industry. The air pollution study is the first for the agency, an energy security group based in Paris, which is expanding its mission under its executive director, Fatih Birol. Mr. Birol said that through relatively low-cost actions, like adopting more ambitious clean air standards and more effective policies for monitoring and enforcement, countries could make major strides in reducing pollution over the next quarter-century.

Ames takes another step toward solar energy

Source: By Austin Harrington, Staff Writer, Ames Tribune • Posted: Monday, June 27th, 2016

In an effort to make the city friendlier to solar energy, Ames officials are beginning an application process to be included in a federal program that is designed to decrease the hurdles associated with solar energy. SolSmart is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to recognize communities that have taken key steps to address local barriers to solar energy and foster the growth of mature local solar markets, according to the program’s website. The Ames City Council approved the application process in early June after the Ames Progressive Alliance brought the initiative to the city’s attention