A bipartisan coalition of governors today called on the Energy Department to use its authority to support much-needed power lines and open wind energy markets, although at least one governor who belongs to the group hasn’t signed off. The Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition today sent Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz a letter urging him to use for the first time his authority under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to partner with power marketing administrations to develop, build, operate and own new power lines that meet certain criteria. The coalition includes governors from across the nation, including the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic and the arid Southwest, as well as Hawaii.
“It’s time to begin in earnest a discussion of our nation’s transmission needs and to focus on the benefitsof getting renewable energy resources like wind to the people and businesses who want them,” saysWashington Gov. Jay Inslee, vice chairman of the coalition. “The Court of Appeals has spoken. Let’s get to work.” In a letter sent to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Inslee and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard,chairman of the coalition, urged the secretary to use his authority under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 topromote high-voltage transmission facilities that could encourage clean energy and economicdevelopment.
Substantial shakeups are likely in gubernatorial races across the country tomorrow, and the outcomes could have significant impact on national energy policy for the next four years. Voters in a whopping 36 states will choose governors when they head to the polls tomorrow, and candidates are running neck and neck in many of those races. About a dozen gubernatorial contests are considered tossups by experts keeping close tabs on the elections.
Where the U.S. wind power industry has struggled to regain its footing after 21 months of slow growth and political wrangling over tax credits, developers in neighboring Canada are aggressively taking up the slack, with an expected 4,500 megawatts of new wind power expected to come online by 2017. That follows a record 1,600 MW of wind energy added to Canada’s electricity grid last year, compared with just under 1,100 MW in the United States. This despite the fact that the U.S. electricity market is nearly seven times larger than Canada’s based on 2013 consumption figures reported to Enerdata, a global consulting firm.
The Pentagon is objecting to a proposed wind energy project on the Eastern Shore of Maryland because the turbines could create a security risk by interfering with operations at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), whose district includes the base, released a letter from the Department of Defense and said officials concluded that the wind turbines pose “a significant threat” to the “world-class stealth radar system” used at the base.
The gathering risks of climate change are so profound that they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse emissions continue at a runaway pace, according to a major new United Nations report. Despite growing efforts in many countries to tackle the problem, the global situation is becoming more acute as developing countries join the West in burning huge amounts of fossil fuels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said here on Sunday.
The Department of Energy and the Navy have announced a $10 million investment into testing wave energy conversion devices off the coast of Hawaii. The money will go to two companies, Ocean Energy USA LLC and Northwest Energy Innovations, to test their technology at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site near Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The principle of marine and hydrokinetic technology is to harness the power of waves, tides, rivers and ocean currents into a renewable energy source.
Vermont may be best known for maple syrup and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but now its largest city can boast another accomplishment. The city of Burlington(pop. 42,000) now gets 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. The Burlington Electric Department (BED) is the state’s largest municipal utility.
Touching on another issue that usually comes up after the elections, Moniz reiterated the need to extend the renewable tax credits and “to do it in the way there is predictability on all sides.” He also voiced support for expanding master limited partnerships to all energy companies, saying it could “provide an excellent new vehicle for attracting private capital into the future.”
U.S. EPA signaled this week that its final Clean Power Plant rule would be asking less of states early on to reduce emissions of power plants’ greenhouse gases. The notice of data availability (NODA) released by EPA this week proposes tweaks that would both strengthen and weaken the stringency of its original draft, industry lawyers closely following the rulemaking say. The strengthening changes seem less likely to be adopted than a major change that may effectively weaken many states’ emissions targets, they say.