President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget proposes boosting funding for clean energy by 7 percent and a new $4 billion fund to encourage U.S. states to make faster and deeper cuts to emissions from power plants, officials said Monday. Obama’s budget also calls for the permanent extension of the Production Tax Credit, used by the wind industry, and the Investment Tax Credit, used by the solar industry, the officials said.
The budget request released yesterday — which again seeks to make renewable energy credits permanent and refundable while eliminating a variety of tax breaks for the oil, gas and coal industries — faces even longer odds of becoming reality with Republicans now in unified control of Congress. But it highlights a continued commitment on the part of the administration to an aggressive shift in the tax code that will color negotiations between the Capitol and White House for the remainder of the year.
An overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford Universityand the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future.
New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has put the brakes on a $2 billion transmission project that would carry electricity generated by renewable resources in New Mexico and Arizona to markets across the West. Dunn announced late Wednesday that he was issuing a 60-day suspension after meeting with the developers. That delay will give his office more time to review the project before any further development affects state trust lands, he said.
A proposed wind farm that would string together 1,000 turbines across nearly 220,000 acres of public and private lands in southeast Wyoming has reached another regulatory milestone, with the Interior Department greenlighting a series of infrastructure projects that move the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project closer to construction.
And the last point, and perhaps the most obvious, is that we’re pursuing wind resources because it is a proven technology that can address federal environmental policies. It’s a key element in our balanced approach to a resource technology mix. Wind resource investment has been good for our customers, it’s good for the environment, and it’s certainly been good for the state of Iowa. That’s why Berkshire Hathaway sees it as a good investment.
But Massachusetts has spent $113 million on a new port facility in New Bedford built specifically to cater to offshore wind farms, bolstering widespread community support for the strategy. The city’s location near two federal areas off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island slated for wind development also buoys residents’ hopes. Says Mayor Jon Mitchell: “The arrival of the offshore wind industry in America, and especially the Northeast, is inevitable. And when it comes, New Bedford will be ready.”
In a dramatic move that passed the state Legislature with little debate and almost no opposition, West Virginia lawmakers on Jan. 22 voted to repeal the state’s 2009 alternative energy standard, which requires utilities to get 25% of their power from alternative sources by 2025. The repeal bill passed the state Senate unanimously and the state House of Delegates by a 95–4 vote. The mandate was repealed in its entirety, though the law leaves in place the state’s net metering provision. The bill now goes to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who has indicated he will sign it.
A bipartisan group of Nebraska lawmakers has introduced a package of five bills aimed at boosting the state’s renewable energy industry. The proposals deal with creating financial incentives, streamlining processes for renewable energy projects and calling for a state energy plan.
Natural gas and renewables made up the bulk of new generation that came online last year, according to a report the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released today. Fifty-nine gas-fired units — almost 7,500 megawatts — were the largest addition to the grid last year, followed by more than 4,000 MW of wind and a little more than 3,000 MW of solar capacity, according to FERC staff’s findings.