Offshore wind energy is a mature, proven technology that has the potential to supply clean energy to millions of Americans, despite the mischaracterizations in Dan Ervin’s Sept. 23 commentary. While offshore wind in the U.S. may be in the early stages of development, in Europe it has been reliably generating emission-free electricity for decades. There are currently memorandum of understanding to further the development of offshore wind power. That sort of collaboration, combined with American ingenuity, often leads to better products at lower costs.
Right now, almost all offshore wind turbines require fixed platforms built into the seafloor. Floating turbines, with anchors, would mean new flexibility in where wind farms could be placed, with potentially less impact on marine life — and less opposition from the human neighbors on shore. More than half of the United States’ potentially capturable offshore wind capacity — more than what the entire nation can now produce — is in deeper waters, said José Zayas, who directs the Wind Energy Technologies Office at the federal Department of Energy. Mr. Zayas predicts that floating platforms may come to outnumber fixed-foundation installations. The use of floating technologies, proponents say, could help overcome some obstacles that have deterred offshore wind farms.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled yesterday that he’s open to extending expiring renewable energy tax credits during the lame-duck session of Congress. Asked if he was open to fixing what Democrats call a drafting error in last year’s end-of-the-year omnibus spending and tax deal, which extended the investment credit for solar but not other qualifying sources, McConnell responded “yes.”
The plan, advanced by an interim joint revenue committee, was to raise the state wind energy production tax – the only such tax in the nation – to help pay for important school construction projects. Yet instead of finding new revenue, lawmakers in the conservative state found controversy and, finally, rejection. Last week, after listening to five hours of testimony from wind companies, business groups and local communities opposed to the tax increase, the revenue committee voted overwhelmingly to kill the idea. By doing so, they pleased wind advocates but made it harder for Wyoming to balance its budget.
In the first of three debates between the two major party presidential candidates, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on Sept. 26 reiterated her call for renewable energy development, making an appeal for becoming a “clean energy superpower of the 21st century.” “We can deploy half a billion more solar panels,” Clinton said during a discussion on economic development. “We can have enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid. That’s a lot of jobs. That’s a lot of new economic activity.”
Tuesday was a good day for U.S. EPA, observers on both sides of a fierce legal struggle over the future of the Obama administration’s landmark climate change rule conceded as they emerged from federal appeals court. Many thought the agency and supporters of the Clean Power Plan had an edge during the nearly seven hours of oral arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. It quickly became apparent, though, that the agency’s biggest legal hurdle may come from its attempts to make the standards for power plants more flexible, affordable and ambitious.
Clinton emerges as a pragmatic policy wonk eager to focus on New York-centric issues and push for environmental justice. It also finds a lawmaker aware of her star power and eager to be seen as working with Republicans. But it also shows a senator who did not often break with Democratic environmental orthodoxy — nor did she author any major green legislation that was signed into law.
In the wake of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s denials Monday night that he’s called climate change a “hoax” perpetrated by China, his campaign manager reiterated in an interview today that Trump doesn’t believe human activity contributes to changing temperatures. And in a separate interview today, GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence offered an incompatible assessment, asserting the Republican ticket would “follow the science” on climate change while avoiding new regulations.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will cut production in an effort to boost prices and shore up members’ economies. The news sent crude oil prices sharply upward. The agreed-to cuts, reported by The Wall Street Journal and other outlets, don’t amount to much of total OPEC output. They total roughly 740,000 barrels a day from current estimated output volumes of over 33 million barrels per day. Rising global offshore production will likely match that volume in a little over a year.
Congress passed a stopgap spending bill late last night that averts a government shutdown and sets the stage for lawmakers to hash out a final fiscal 2017 spending package in a post-election, lame-duck session. The House cleared the continuing resolution 342-85 several hours after it easily passed the Senate 72-16. The White House said the president will sign the legislation.