Berkshire subsidiary to build Nebraska wind farm project

Source: By Steve Jordon / World-Herald staff writer • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

Construction is to start this summer on the 400-megawatt project, located about 12 miles northeast of O’Neill, and be completed in 2016, adding to the state’s existing 810-megawatt wind energy capacity. BHE did not disclose the purchase price. A spokeswoman said the investment would total hundreds of millions of dollars, with the exact amount depending on factors still being negotiated. Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of BHE Renewables, said the project would help Omaha Public Power District meet its goal of generating 30 percent of its power from renewable sources.

Xcel Energy agrees to buy N.D. wind farm project

Source: By DAVID SHAFFER , Minneapolis Star Tribune  • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

The nation’s most windpower-reliant utility said it will invest $300 million to purchase and complete a North Dakota wind farm under development by Edina-based Geronimo Energy. The deal, announced to investors and regulators on Thursday, salvages a project that might otherwise not be built because no wind energy company had stepped forward to purchase and operate it. Xcel always intended to buy the electricity produced by the 100-turbine Courtenay Wind Farm planned in Stutsman County, N.D. But the utility didn’t initially intend to own the project, one of four large wind farms for which Xcel signed deals in 2013. Two others are under construction.

More than 40% of Americans breathe polluted air — study 

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 30th, 2015

More than 40 percent of Americans live in areas that record high levels of air pollution, according to the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report released today. Forty-four percent of the country, or 138.5 million people, live in areas with average levels of fine particle and ozone pollution above U.S. EPA standards, the report found. That’s a reduction from last year’s report, which found that 147 million people were breathing unhealthy air. But the new report — which is based on average 2011-2013 data — found that progress was not shared equally throughout the country.

Clean Power Plan Points Utilities Toward ‘Inevitable’ Low-Carbon Future, McCarthy Says

Source: By Andrew Childers, Bloomberg News • Posted: Thursday, April 30th, 2015

A low-carbon future is “inevitable,” and the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan is intended to send utilities the market signals necessary to guide those investments, Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “A low carbon future is absolutely inevitable. The question is how quickly will that come out and who will win,” McCarthy said April 28 at Columbia University’s Global Energy Summit in New York.

States will benefit from regional approach to EPA carbon rule — analysis 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 30th, 2015

States face wide variations in Clean Power Plan compliance costs and outcomes depending on the paths they choose and how much time U.S. EPA allows them for writing compliance strategies, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The Washington, D.C., nonprofit’s modeling explores options the draft rule offers to states, projecting outcomes based on whether states choose regional or individual emission plans and weighing variables that include the cost of natural gas.
The modeling projects that the EPA rule will cost $9.7 billion in 2020 and $15.7 billion in 2030 annually before savings from demand-side efficiency are factored in.

Berkshire unit says it plans to build wind farm, sell all power to Omaha Public Power District

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Officials say a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. plans to build a 400-megawtt wind farm in northeast Nebraska and sell all the power to Omaha Public Power District. The Omaha World-Herald reports that a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, BHE Renewables, bought Grande Prairie Farm from Geronimo Energy, of Edina, Minnesota. BHE didn’t disclose the purchase price. Geronimo had bought it from a Chicago developer in 2013. The other companies have arranged leases, obtained permits and completed other development steps.

Things to Know About California’s Plan to Cut Emissions

Source: By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Here are some things to know about California Gov. Jerry Brown’s new target for reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

Calif. governor orders state to slash emissions 40% by 2030 

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 30th, 2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) today ordered the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, calling it the most ambitious climate target in North America.
The executive order comes as state lawmakers are already considering a 2030 target and follows an inaugural pledge Brown made in January to halve petroleum consumption and achieve 50 percent renewable energy by that date. Brown said the goal, which is based on a 1990 emissions base line, is aimed at aligning California with “leading international governments” ahead of the U.N. climate talks in Paris this December. The European Union set a 2030 target in October, he noted.

California Governor Orders New Target for Emissions Cuts

Source: By ADAM NAGOURNEY, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order Wednesday sharply speeding up this state’s already ambitious program aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, saying it was critical to address “an ever-growing threat” posed by global warming to the state’s economy and well-being. The order, announced early Wednesday morning, was intended as a jolt to a landmark 2006 environmental law requiring an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gas reductions by 2050, compared with 1990. Under Mr. Brown’s order, the state would have to get halfway there — a 40 percent reduction — by 2030. Mr. Brown said this tough new interim target was essential to prod the energy industry to act and to help the state make investment and regulatory decisions that would assure that goal was not missed.

‘Solar gardens’ could meet half of U.S. PV power by decade’s end — NREL

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

A new analysis from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory finds that shared photovoltaic (PV) solar systems — also called community solar projects or “solar gardens” — could account for one-third to one-half of all solar PV power in the United States by 2020. Achieving such robust growth will depend on a variety of factors, according to NREL energy analyst David Feldman, the report’s lead author. They include the continued expansion of net metering and other utility programs encouraging solar adoption, rising customer awareness of solar’s costs and benefits, and the ironing out of financial and regulatory issues that have effectively locked half of U.S. households and businesses out of the solar marketplace.