When it comes to U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Texas’ best bet might be to “just say no,” its regulatory utility commissioner said today. EPA would have to provide substantial new “relief” in its final version of the rule for existing power plants in order to give Texas confidence that complying would be a good idea, Commissioner Kenneth Anderson told the winter meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy suggested today that EPA would change the way early reductions are mandated in its final version of the Clean Power Plan. In an appearance at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) winter meeting, McCarthy acknowledged many states have told EPA that the interim compliance period would limit their options or affect reliability.
Following a lackluster several months for offshore wind in the United States, a new report argues that interstate coordination is essential if the industry is going to get back on its feet. Noting that the United States seems to have entered the “post-Cape Wind” era, report author and Clean Energy Group President Lewis Milford said in an email introducing the report that “the current policy isn’t working and there is a need for multi-state policy approaches.”
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) will resign from office effective Wednesday, succumbing to demands from state Democrats amid multiple investigations into whether his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, used her role as an energy policy adviser for personal gain. Kitzhaber’s resignation will automatically elevate Secretary of State Kate Brown (D) into the governor’s mansion. The state does not have a lieutenant governor.
Storing energy remains the missing link for many clean power technologies, but DOE researchers and startup companies are racing to fill the gap. Without a way to save electricity and heat for later use, intermittent renewable energy will struggle to close price and performance differences with fossil fuels. But stored energy has advantages. It can respond to increased power demands faster than a turbine can spool up, and it can also save excess power and then supply it when needed.
What happens when the wind doesn’t blow? That’s a question that wind power skeptics or critics frequently ask. While coal, nuclear and gas plants theoretically run uninterrupted whenever they are called upon, humans have no control over when wind turbines stop and start spinning. Some utility and power company officials say this is a reason that “reliable,” baseload power should be valued more than wind. But in a report released Thursday and an accompanying webinar, experts with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) explained how wind can actually be seen as a more reliable source than conventional power plants — one that contributes to rather than inhibits the stability of the grid as a whole.
“I’m not sure what Cape Wind’s next move will be, but anybody who is developing an offshore wind piece, this bill is going to be for them,” said Haddad, who is second only to the speaker in the House hierarchy. “If Cape Wind wants to compete and they want to bring a lower price to the table, then they are going to be successful.”
The report comes as several states are reconsidering their existing RES or EERS. For example, West Virginia recently became the first state to repeal its RES, with the legislature voting overwhelmingly to scrap the law, which would have required 25 percent of electricity sales to come from renewable or alternative sources by 2025.
Visions of large, white wind-energy blades sweeping up the horizon have faded five years since a wind farm was proposed for Lake Michigan off the West Michigan coast. Five years ago, Scandia Wind created quite a stir by proposing a large wind-energy project, generating much discussion and debate in West Michigan, especially in Mason, Oceana, Muskegon and Ottawa counties. After months of talk in 2009 and 2010, the discussion of putting wind turbines in Lake Michigan has been relatively silent since.
Google has announced it is purchasing power from Altamont Pass, one of the country’s oldest and largest windfarms in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The technology company recently inked a 20-year agreement with Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. About 770 wind turbines from the 1980s will be replaced this year by 48 new turbines, which will double energy production.