A key Republican last night said the House is unlikely to name conferees to reconcile the competing energy bills this week, thereby punting on a development that was expected and stalling progress on the legislation. Before the recess, members and aides said conferees could be named as early as this week, but House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) yesterday said the lower chamber is still mapping out its strategy
Big oil is dipping a few more toes into clean energy. Exxon Mobil Corp. is partnering with a company to capture carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. Total SA, the French oil supermajor, announced a $1.1 billion deal Monday to buy the battery maker Saft Groupe SA, complementing its 2011 purchase of a majority stake in the solar-panel maker SunPower Corp. And the Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc. announced Tuesday it will pay $218 million for stakes in offshore wind farms as it attempts to double its low-carbon generating capacity.
New Mexico’s wind-energy industry has reached a major milestone, and analysts say the state is well-positioned to expand its renewable power capacity. Industry experts say the state has excellent wind resources, and investors already have put almost $2 billion into developing wind energy in the state. John Hensley, manager of industry data and analysis for the American Wind Energy Association, said the state’s wind-energy capacity is growing rapidly.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has barred state agencies from moving forward on U.S. EPA’s regulation to reduce carbon emissions from power plants unless it is deemed legal. Brownback, already a critic of the Clean Power Plan, signed S.B. 318 into law Friday suspending all work on the climate regulation.
Large U.S. utilities are taking advantage of government subsidies to buy and produce more renewable energy in anticipation of tougher new regulations on carbon emissions. Duke Energy Corp. , Southern Co. and the energy unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. are among the utility companies that are investing more in solar and wind farms and ramping up purchases of clean power, spurred by renewable-energy mandates in more than half the nation’s states and expected federal limits on greenhouse-gas emissions.
The Senate is planning to pass its $37.5 billion fiscal 2017 energy and water spending bill today, key appropriators said yesterday Lawmakers will first take a procedural vote on a controversial amendment by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) related to the Iran nuclear deal. Talk of the amendment has helped stall the broader spending measure.
Ahead of next month’s courtroom showdown over the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, lawyers last week previewed their arguments in a Chicago classroom. Industry attorney Tom Lorenzen and environmental lawyer Sean Donahue each appeared confident as they presented their opposing sides of the case at a debate hosted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. Both attorneys are expected to represent their respective sides during oral arguments next month over U.S. EPA’s regulation to curb power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions.
Iowa has emerged as a national leader in the development of renewable energy, thanks to the willingness of energy customers, communities, business and environmental coalitions and state policymakers and elected officials to work together toward this goal. The visionary leadership of Sen. Chuck Grassley at the federal level and Govs. Tom Vilsack and Terry Branstad at the state level have helped put Iowa on the path to generating more than 40 percent of its annual energy needs from wind by the end of this decade.
Critics of the renewable energy production tax credit are crying foul over new Internal Revenue Service guidance allowing wind and other facilities an additional two years to qualify for the incentive after breaking ground. Last week’s IRS notice doubled the amount of time renewable energy production facilities have to qualify for the PTC after starting construction. The guidance extended the time from two years, a number set in 2013, to four or more years.
California leads in solar PV installations, as it continues to dominate the solar landscape. With the state having one of the top Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) of 50% by 2030, this will put further need to increase not only utility-scale solar energy, but also improved local solar forecasting to produce maximum results, as the state heads towards its clean energy goals.