Harvesting homegrown wind power improves our energy security and reliability by diversifying our energy mix and keeping energy costs low for consumers. For Americans to continue reaping these benefits, however, Congress must extend the renewable Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit as soon as possible. That will provide wind power with the critical policy stability Congress has provided to other energy sources for the last 100 years.
Fifteen GOP governors say President Obama’s signature climate change regulation on carbon pollution from existing power plants “exceeds the scope of federal law.” In a letter to Obama, the governors from states including North Carolina, Alaska, Arizona and Wisconsin said the rule, which requires the nation’s fleet of existing power plants to cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030, is an overreach of authority.
A split federal appeals court panel ruled yesterday that Exelon Corp. cannot force a Texas utility to buy power from its wind farms. In a 2-1 vote, judges on the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that several units of Chicago-based Exelon cannot force a subsidiary of Xcel Energy Inc. — Southwestern Public Service Co. — to buy wind power under a 1970s law aimed at bolstering renewables.
Senate Republicans today accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of trying to micromanage nominations to critical agencies tasked with overseeing the grid and energy infrastructure and asked two Obama nominees for assurances they would not bend to the senator’s political will.
A majority of Americans are skeptical of federal energy mandates but still favor tax breaks for wind power and other forms of renewable energy, according to a poll released today by the pro-business American Energy Alliance. The survey found that 60 percent of respondents oppose renewable energy standards for consumers and 77 percent don’t trust Congress to hand out corporate tax breaks. At the same time, 51 percent of respondents said they support a production tax credit for wind power. And 62 percent said they believe U.S. EPA should require states to produce alternative sources of energy.
Governors of 15 fossil fuel-heavy states took swings yesterday at U.S. EPA’s proposed climate rule for existing power plants, targeting the proposal’s legal underpinnings and practical feasibility. In a letter to President Obama, the governors warn that EPA had built its draft rule on a shaky legal foundation.
California climate policy luminaries are meeting today in Sacramento to argue that regional cooperation on reducing emissions is possible, even in the face of international gridlock. The three-hour conference is organized by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and will feature veterans from the state, federal and international levels of climate policy, including Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chairman Rajendra Pachauri, Gov. Jerry Brown (D), former U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols.
U.S. solar photovoltaic installations continued at a brisk pace in the second quarter of 2014, with 1,133 megawatts of new capacity coming online in the utility, commercial and residential sectors, according to data released Friday by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.
The Department of Energy today doled out $8 million for the construction of new microgrid projects across the United States, part of the government’s Climate Action Plan and push to harden the grid against increasingly violent storms. The funds will support microgrid projects in Alaska, California, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee — systems that can detach from the U.S. grid, operate autonomously and continue to generate power should an attack or severe storm trigger widespread damage.
With legislative gridlock the rule rather than the exception in Congress for the foreseeable future, badly needed reforms in the way electricity markets operate are not on the horizon. Instead, federal and state regulators will “muddle through” trying to make outdated jurisdictional arrangements work even as advanced technologies and changing consumer preferences disrupt the industry, said Robert Nordhaus, a partner at Van Ness Feldman and formerly the general counsel of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as well as the Department of Energy.