News

La. regulators signal halt to net metering as saga continues

Source: Edward Klump, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Louisiana regulators, in the latest flashpoint of a smoldering debate on residential solar, backed a view yesterday that three electric cooperatives have surpassed a threshold to halt expansion of retail net metering under state rules. The 3-2 vote by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC) validated the position taken by its staff in a review of calculations related to Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative Inc., Panola-Harrison Electric Cooperative Inc. and Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative Inc.

Ramp-up in U.S. is ‘economically viable’ — NREL report

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2015

A major increase in renewable power is “economically viable” in many parts of the United States when the social cost of carbon is taken into account, according to a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The analysis concludes that there is an economic potential for an additional 820 terrawatt-hours of renewable generation beyond what exists now, or the approximate equivalent of 20 percent of the current annual U.S. output of electricity. NREL said the report presents a first-ever method for measuring whether many U.S. renewables are economically viable, outside of their technical potential.

Silver Lake Is Said to Invest $100 Million in SolarCity

Source: By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED, New York Times • Posted: Friday, November 20th, 2015

At a time when investors have darkened on the solar power industry, a big investment firm has moved in to buy a stake in SolarCity, the biggest company in the sector. SolarCity is expected to announce on Wednesday that it has raised $113 million in a new investment led by the clean-energy arm of Silver Lake, as well as the solar company’s chairman, Elon Musk, and its chief executive, Lyndon Rive.

Senators Revive Financing Tactic From ’70s for Carbon Emissions

Source: By DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Friday, November 20th, 2015

For years, power companies, manufacturers and entrepreneurs have tried to make capturing and storing carbon emissions from industrial operations like burning coal into a business, to little avail. Despite decades of promising research, demonstration projects and government investment, large-scale developments have often proved too difficult and costly to get off the ground. But now two senators think they have hit on a way to move the industry forward. Under a bill set to be introduced on Thursday, carbon capture projects — considered important tools for fossil fuel power plants and industrial facilities to meet anticipated greenhouse gas restrictions — would qualify for tax-exempt private activity bonds, which helped clean up air pollution in the 1970s and 1980s.

Nebraska Local View: Fossil fuel subsidies dwarf wind energy incentives.

Source: By Dan McGuire, Lincoln Journal Star • Posted: Friday, November 20th, 2015

In response to the opinion column “Support affordable energy by ending corporate welfare” LJS, Nov. 14) here are three questions for author Thomas J. Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, with ties to the Koch Brothers oil company.

Judges toss enviro challenge to San Diego turbines

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 20th, 2015

Federal judges yesterday rejected an environmental challenge to a major wind farm in Southern California. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that environmental groups including the Desert Protective Council had not shown that the Bureau of Land Management acted arbitrarily in greenlighting the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility project in the desert east of San Diego

Company slows plan for $2B line to ship Iowa wind energy

Source: By RYAN J. FOLEY, Associated Press • Posted: Friday, November 20th, 2015

A company proposing a $2 billion transmission line to ship Iowa wind energy to electric customers in Illinois confirmed Thursday that it has asked regulators to suspend their review while the company figures out how best to move forward with its plan. Clean Line Energy Partners said it is assessing plans for the Rock Island Clean Line, amid opposition from some landowners and uncertain odds of gaining regulatory approval. The Iowa Utilities Board has granted the company’s request to pause a technical review of its petitions to build the high-voltage, overhead line through 16 counties.

Donald Trump hated wind farms — until an Iowa voter asked

Source: By Philip Bump, Washington Post • Posted: Friday, November 20th, 2015

“I’m okay with subsidies, to an extent. I don’t like subsidies when you have $19 trillion in debt.” That said, he was clearly supportive: “If oil goes up [in price], it’s great. But if oil stays low, it’s a very tough business.”

EPA climate rule could boost solar, wind in Ariz. — study

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 19th, 2015

A new study says Arizona could meet carbon-cutting goals in U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan simply by developing the state’s abundant and already available solar and wind power resources over the next 15 years. What’s more, the 46-page study, conducted by the Tucson, Ariz.-based Sonoran Institute and researchers with Arizona State University, reports there are at least 15 large-scale solar and wind projects with the capacity to produce 2,032 megawatts of electricity that are already in some stage of the federal or state permitting process.

White House initiative aims to broaden Americans’ access

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 19th, 2015

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.