News

Comment: Offshore wind still the best bet for clean energy

Source: By Ann Berwick, Boston Globe • Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The proposal for Cape Wind, which was to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm, is teetering on the edge of failure after a 14-year saga of lawsuits and regulatory hurdles. Yet a bill pending in the Massachusetts Legislature would require that large amounts of electricity come from wind turbines located offshore. How can that possibly make sense? But the bill has it right: For the Northeast to address climate change, developing offshore wind is a necessity. That’s because nothing beats offshore wind for generating power.

Iowa farmer takes Pope’s side on climate change

Source: By DEAN REYNOLDS, CBS NEWS • Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Iowa farmer Tom Wind grows a lot more than soybeans and corn. He’s been planting 400-foot wind turbines at his farm in Greene County, Iowa. The turbines are able to fuel a 2,000 horsepower engine. “It turns out that wind power is fairly economical,” Wind said. “Wind power is one of the cheapest forms of new energy.”

Senate Democrats lay out priorities for legislative package 

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

As the debate over a broad energy package intensifies on Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats today rolled out a sweeping list of energy policy priorities focused on curbing carbon emissions and investing in renewable technology. In a letter soliciting input on energy policy from governors, the Democrats called for a national energy policy that prioritizes investment in clean energy sources and efforts to upgrade the U.S. electrical grid and other energy infrastructure. “We believe the U.S. must establish a framework that helps unleash investment in our infrastructure sufficient to ensure all American citizens and businesses have access to affordable, efficient, reliable and cleaner energy,” they wrote in the letter.

After Mercury Ruling, Higher Scrutiny of Obama Climate Rules

Source: By Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Sweeping pollution limits at the center of President Barack Obama’s climate change plan are facing increased scrutiny in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that showed that the justices aren’t afraid to thwart perceived overreach by Obama or his Environmental Protection Agency. The high court’s ruling undermined Obama administration regulations targeting mercury and other hazardous air pollutants — a different set of regulations from the greenhouse gas limits that Obama is counting on to slow the effects of global warming. Still, the court’s willingness to rein in the EPA emboldened opponents of Obama’s climate change agenda, who said the court had finally woken up to what they call the haphazard and costly nature of the environmental regulations that Obama has put forth.

Justices topple EPA mercury regs in ruling seen as limited 

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Obama administration unlawfully failed to consider compliance costs before it issued its landmark power plant emission limits for mercury and other hazardous pollutants. More than 20 Republican-led states and various industry groups challenged U.S. EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS. The rules were finalized in December 2011 and are already in effect, requiring coal-burning power plants to reduce emissions of hazardous substances like mercury, lead and arsenic by installing control technologies or retiring plants.

With ’15 energy plan, N.Y. bids to become cleanest energy state in U.S. 

Source: Colin Sullivan, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2015

New York made a bold declaration about clean energy yesterday with a state energy plan that promises a host of policy efforts aimed at scrubbing the state of fossil fuels and advancing a future heavy on distributed generation and renewable energy. The much-anticipated document from Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) lays out targets under the state’s fast-moving “reforming the energy vision” (REV) for electricity and complementary programs for other areas. Taken together, the promised targets under those programs listed in the document would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Gates to invest $2B in clean energy, rejects fossil fuel divestment 

Source: Katherine Ling, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2015

As co-chairman of the American Energy Innovation Council, Gates and several other prominent CEOs called on the U.S. government to roughly triple the R&D budget to ensure future economic competitiveness, national security and environmental protection, compared with the current $5 billion annual investment that is about half of what the nation spends on potato chips and tortilla chips

House Appropriators Seek Deep Cuts to Environmental, Farm and Renewable Energy Programs

Source: By Jessie Stolark, EESI • Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2015

Appropriations have become a warzone in recent years for environmental measures – seeking cuts to the federal government’s ability to conduct programs related to climate change or renewable energy, including climate change monitoring, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies.

Rush is on to invest in solar and wind ahead of tax credit’s end 

Source: Saqib Rahim, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 29th, 2015

Solar and wind firms know well that a favorite federal tax incentive could expire at the end of 2016. Instead of waiting to see if it happens, they’re investing now. Companies are rushing to build solar and wind projects before 2017, when the federal investment tax credit for renewable energy is chopped from 30 to 10 percent, renewables financiers said at a conference this week. The question is whether this sets up a cliff in investment for 2017, or more of a slope. That was a subject of debate at the Renewable Energy Financing Forum here.

Minn. PUC weighs Xcel’s request to rein in community solar boom 

Source: Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 26th, 2015

They didn’t know it at the time, but the members of Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission set off a solar tsunami last year when they approved rules for a community solar program in Xcel Energy Inc.’s service area. Yesterday, the PUC opened a hearing on Xcel’s plea to retroactively put limits on the program, and on the consequences of doing so for Minnesota’s nascent solar industry.