With the clock ticking on the 114th Congress, House and Senate conferees will sit down this week for the first time in public to see whether they can buck the odds and pass the first comprehensive energy reform package in nearly a decade. The chairmen and ranking members on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Natural Resources Committee spent weeks this summer discussing whether going to conference was worth the trouble.
TVA could help propel one of the biggest transfers of wind energy across America and get the best price to do so if it agrees within the next four months to buy the electricity generated from Oklahoma and Texas wind turbines and shipped to the Tennessee Valley on a new, $2.5 billion transmission line. Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, a Houston-based company formed to build high-voltage, long-distance transmission lines, is urging TVA to agree by the end of the year to buy at least some of the nearly 4,000 megawatts of wind energy it wants to transmit along a $2.5 billion direct-current line it plans to build through Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Out in a gravel field, next to Flathead Electric Cooperative’s humming Stillwater Substation, sit four sections of future plans, hopes, and ideals soaking up the sunlight. More than 350 solar panels stand sentinel just north of the intersection of Whitefish Stage Road and Reserve Drive, put in place last September to absorb energy from the sun.
A proposed high-voltage line meant to move power from Great Plains wind farms west of here into Chicago and points east has hit a major roadblock in the form of a court decision overturning state approval of it. But the developers, along with the Illinois Commerce Commission, aren’t giving up. They promise to appeal the Illinois Appeals Court ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court.
The nation’s largest grid operator said it could comply with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan while acknowledging its findings were based on unknowns about future nuclear reactor closures and gas pricing forecasts. PJM Interconnection LLC, which spans 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states, said in an analysis that power plants within its jurisdiction could comply without skyrocketing costs. PJM found the price of compliance would range from 1 percent to 3 percent of average wholesale electricity costs.
President Obama wants to make climate change a big part of his life and work after leaving the White House next year, he said yesterday. “I think anybody who has the megaphone that even an ex-president has needs to be working on this and raising awareness,” Obama told pool reporters during a visit to Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean to highlight his conservation legacy
With the clock ticking on the abbreviated election-year legislative calendar, the conference committee aiming to reconcile the House and Senate’s competing energy reform bills will hold its first public meeting this week. Conferees will meet Thursday morning to deliver opening statements, said a notice leaders circulated last night. Members’ remarks are limited to two minutes, but longer statements can be submitted for the record.
President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China formally committed the world’s two largest economies to the Paris climate agreement here on Saturday, cementing their partnership on climate change and offering a rare display of harmony in a relationship that has become increasingly discordant. On multiple fronts, like computer hacking and maritime security, ties between China and the United States have frayed during the seven and a half years of Mr. Obama’s presidency. The friction has worsened since the ascension of Mr. Xi as a powerful nationalist leader in 2013.
For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline. Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.
The Green Climate Fund, which aims to channel billions of dollars to help poorer nations tackle global warming, is not yet backing the right kind of projects to bring about a sea change in low-carbon development, said its recently departed executive director. Héla Cheikhrouhou, who was appointed as Tunisia’s minister for energy, mining and renewable in its new government on Friday, urged the $10.3-billion fund to provide clearer guidelines on what it is seeking to finance in areas such as water, urban development, energy and transport.