Washington air regulators last week withdrew their plan to cap large greenhouse gas emitters, promising to present a new proposal in the spring that some observers hope will be more akin to other carbon regulations in the United States. The now-defunct proposal by Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) Department of Ecology would have subjected emitters of more than 100,000 tons per year of carbon to a 5 percent reduction every three years. About 70 facilities were targeted, including refineries, landfills and aerospace manufacturers.
U.S. petrochemical manufacturing spurred by the shale revolution and low natural gas prices could have big greenhouse gas impacts, environmentalists today warned in a report. The Environmental Integrity Project highlighted dozens of petrochemical projects proposed in response to low oil and gas prices.
One of China’s top power officials wants to build a global power grid connecting solar farms in the Middle East and wind turbines in the Arctic to countries around the world. What might sound like the stuff of science fiction, State Grid Corporation of China Chairman Zhenya Liu said could be developed by mid-century. The foundation of the ocean-crossing grid would be an ultra high voltage power line developed by his company, along with engineering giants ABB and Siemens, which he said would make the delivery of electricity across such vast distances feasible.
owa increased the percentage of electricity it received from wind last year, climbing to over 30 percent. But state and national leaders said the state could push its renewable energy portfolio higher. “With potential to jump above 40 percent in the next five years, we are committed to building an even greener Iowa future that will provide our Iowa families with cleaner, renewable energy and job opportunities,” Gov. Terry Branstad said in a statement.
“We are proud of Iowa’s leadership in wind energy,” says Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who also serves as chairman of the Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition. “We’ve seen exponential growth in wind energy, and the data released today reinforces what we’ve been seeing in every corner of our state. With potential to jump above 40 percent in the next five years, we are committed to building an even greener Iowa future that will provide our Iowa families with cleaner, renewable energy and job opportunities.”
DOE’s $32.5 billion request includes a 21 percent rise in clean energy research and development, including a large increase for programs like the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which supports cutting-edge technologies outside the reach of the private sector. Other big winners under the proposal include sustainable transportation, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, which would all receive at least a 27 percent increase over last year’s level. The administration is hoping that key appropriators like Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) — a historical supporter of R&D — will help make some of the funding requests a reality.
Senate Energy Committee ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said that Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) was also withholding consent, but his office has not responded to requests for comment. The office of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Friday confirmed he had a hold on the energy bill — which he opposed in committee — but declined to comment on whether the objections extended to the Flint deal. Lawmakers plan to vote on that separately. Backers of moving forward with the long-stalled agenda are hoping to get an agreement to set up votes on the energy bill, about three-dozen amendments, and the Flint package.
After years of effort, Deepwater Wind expects to complete the first offshore wind farm in the US later this year. Supporters say the project off the coast of Block Island is an important milestone that will bolster the growth of renewable energy. But debate continues about the cost of that energy for Rhode Island residents.
The Indiana governor’s office yesterday said the state would prepare a compliance plan if U.S. EPA’s rule limiting power plant carbon emissions is deemed legal. The comments came on the heels of an Indianapolis Star report saying the state would not develop a plan even if the disputed rule is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. That is not the case, according to a state official. “If the courts ultimately uphold the Clean Power Plan, the governor absolutely prefers a state plan,” Dan Schmidt, Indiana policy director for energy and environment, said in an email.
“I think it is part of a long transition that’s taking place, where people are only now starting to realize what the resources are in their states, and how fast they actually can make the transition,” said Rob Gramlich, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the American Wind Energy Association. “Wind is a new entrant in all of these places,” Gramlich said. “Almost all of it has been developed in the last 10 years, it’s relatively new, so, you know, and the utilities have been there for a hundred years or more, with their relationships with policymakers. That doesn’t change in a few years when a new technology comes in and enters the market.”