News

With PTC extension facing political headwinds, industry seeks to rebut critics’ attacks

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 28th, 2014

A key renewable energy tax break is facing stiff resistance as Congress begins to debate the fate of dozens of business tax breaks that expired at the beginning of this year, according to lawmakers, aides and outside stakeholders tracking the process, and its main beneficiary is rolling out an answer to the leading attack it is expected to face this year. The future of the production tax credit (PTC) and other energy extenders will be decided in the coming months as Congress begins to craft legislation that could reinstate some of the more than 50 temporary provisions, collectively known as “tax extenders,” that expired at the beginning of this year.

CADILLAC TAKES ON TESLA WITH PLUG-IN ELR

Source: BY ANN M. JOB, FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Finally, there’s an electric car that rivals Tesla’s eye-catching Model S. The sleek, new-for-2014 Cadillac ELR coupe is arguably as sexy looking as the sporty Model S, and like the Tesla, it’s a plug-in vehicle that’s capable of traveling for hours without stopping.

Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy’s Sheridan discusses FERC Order 1000 court challenge

Source: Monica Trauzzi, E&E • Posted: Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard a case regarding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 1000, which seeks to address some of the modernization challenges facing the grid. During today’s OnPoint, Sue Sheridan, president and chief counsel at the Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy, a plaintiff in the case, discusses the four key issues at play and the rationale behind the plaintiffs’ petition. She also explains how this case is significant to the larger debate over Order 1000.

Wyo. wind could help Calif. meet goals at lower cost — NREL study

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 27th, 2014

A new federal study estimates that ratepayers in California could save as much as $1 billion a year in power generation costs to meet renewable energy goals if transmission lines are built that allow the Golden State to access wind-generated electricity from Wyoming. The detailed economic study, conducted by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., and released this week, would seem to bolster ongoing federal efforts to build new transmission lines connecting vast wind resources in Wyoming to power-hungry load centers across the desert Southwest.

Kansas House of Representatives says “no” to attack on renewable electricity standard

Source: Jeff Deyette, asst director of research & analysis, Clean Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists • Posted: Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Great news out of Kansas! Just one day after the Kansas Senate voted to repeal the state’s renewable electricity standard (RES), the House of Representatives sent the measure packing by an overwhelming 77-44 vote margin. This is a victory for renewable energy in Kansas and across the nation. It is also yet another direct rebuke to the shady tactics and misleading cost analysis put forth by clean energy opponents like Americans for Prosperity, Heartland Institute, and ALEC; all of which are funded by the Kansas-based Koch brothers.

Senate Finance panel aims to mark up 2-year extenders bill next week

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 27th, 2014

The Senate Finance Committee is aiming for next week to begin its consideration of how and whether to extend a bevy of temporary tax breaks that lapsed at the beginning of this year, such as the production tax credit (PTC) and other clean energy incentives. Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told reporters yesterday afternoon that he hoped to convene a markup Wednesday to consider a bill that would reinstate the business tax breaks, which are collectively known as extenders. Wyden said he hoped the bill would extend the provisions for two years, but he stressed that details of the bill, including its duration, were still being negotiated.

D.C. climate warrior to head Steyer shop in Calif.

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Dan Lashof, a veteran of the climate wars in Washington, D.C., for three decades, is moving to California to take the helm of billionaire Keystone XL pipeline foe Tom Steyer’s new advocacy group. Lashof, who has worked at the Natural Resources Defense Council since 1989, will take over April 1 as CEO of NextGen Climate America, the policy shop affiliated with the more political NextGen Climate Action. He will continue to play an advisory role at NRDC, but Clean Air Act lawyer David Doniger will replace him as head of the group’s climate and clean air program.

Public support for state-level climate policy has declined since 2008 — report

Source: Henry Gass and Christa Marshall, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Public enthusiasm for state-level climate change policies has waned in recent years as rhetoric denying the role of humans in warming the planet has intensified and the federal government has taken the lead in tackling greenhouse gas emissions. The peak in public support for state climate policies came in the fall of 2008, according to a report released yesterday from the National Surveys on Energy and Environment, but has steadily declined ever since as respondents became more circumspect over how states should pursue climate policy. Most Americans still think states should have an active role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but support for strong policy responses has declined.

Study links power plant emissions to children’s health problems

Source: Daniel Lippman, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

China has been using coal-fired power to fuel its economic development for decades. But there have been both environmental and human costs to the air pollution it generated. A new study from Columbia University and the Chongqing Medical University finds that children born near a coal-burning power plant in Tongliang County in central China were slower to develop and had less of a key protein that is crucial for brain development. Researchers looked at two sets of children, one born while the coal plant was operating and one born after. The differences were dramatic. Babies born after the coal plant closed in May 2004 had lower exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are chemicals that are often produced from coal plants.

In Calif. and Nev., energy storage hits the rails

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

“They go up, they go down, Slinky fashion,” said Francesca Cava, chief operating officer at Advanced Rail Energy Storage North America, the company behind the Nevada project. “For the most part, the technology we’re using is over a hundred years old — we’re not waiting for any scientific breakthroughs to be profitable.”