The Obama administration’s nomination of Norman Bay to become chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is ushering in a new round of analysis of the commission and its future. Is Bay the safe choice or the best choice to lead the agency? During today’s OnPoint, Marc Spitzer, a former FERC commissioner and now a partner at Steptoe & Johnson, discusses the prospects for Bay’s confirmation and the future role of acting Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur on the commission.
There’s a new energy and climate team in the White House. Dan Utech, President Obama’s chief energy and climate adviser, announced this week that he’ll have two new deputies as his office plows ahead with the administration’s Climate Action Plan.
Two senior U.S. EPA officials yesterday sought to allay regulators’ fears about the effect the agency’s upcoming existing power plant rule for carbon dioxide could have on electric reliability and supply. Acting EPA air chief Janet McCabe and senior counsel for air and radiation Joe Goffman, the lead architects of the rule due out by June 1, avoided offering specifics about the approach the agency would take while discussing it during the winter meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. But they emphasized EPA continues to solicit input from stakeholders on how best to craft it and that dialogue with state officials would continue even after the guidance is proposed.
Former oil and gas tycoon Bill Miller has been tasked with building a colossal wind farm in Rawlins, Wyo. It will be located on a cattle ranch owned by Anschutz Corp., the co-owner of the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Once complete, this will be the largest wind generation facility in the country and, possibly, the world.
What could be America’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm will use turbines designed in France, with 15 turbine blades set for delivery as soon as this April, industry executives announced yesterday. Rhode Island-based offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind said it had agreed to purchase five 6-megawatt offshore wind turbines from French manufacturer Alstom in December, qualifying it for the federal investment tax credit that expired at the end of 2013.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today approved a request from grid operators in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic to temporarily let their generators exceed a long-standing $1,000-per-megawatt-hour price limit for electricity sold into the market. FERC granted the waiver for PJM Interconnection, which oversees the grid in 13 states and the District of Columbia, through the end of March.
The Interior Department today released an online mapping tool and data pinpointing the locations of more than 47,000 onshore wind power turbines, a two-year effort Interior officials say will help ensure that commercial-scale wind development has as few landscape-level impacts as possible. The interactive map represents the first time the locations of every onshore wind turbine installed since last July have been collected and mapped on one website. And federal officials said today it should help researchers better gauge the impacts of wind development on everything from air traffic radars to fatal bird collisions with turbine blades.
As she prepares to take the helm of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) yesterday said she plans to keep the panel’s existing senior staff for “a time” but is also merging her own aides into the mix. Landrieu also appealed to state regulators yesterday to help her smoothly transition into her role as chairwoman in remarks at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ winter meeting.
President Obama’s pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Norman Bay, offers the administration what many FERC watchers say it needed after the failed nomination last year of former Colorado utility regulator Ron Binz. A clean slate.
A offshore wind farm being developed off the coast of Rhode Island has qualified for a lucrative federal tax credit by signing a turbine purchase contract. The 30-megawatt Block Island project being developed by Deepwater Wind will use five 6 MW turbines supplied by French manufacturer Alstom, the companies announced today. The purchase should allow Deepwater to qualify for the federal investment tax credit (ITC), which would cover 30 percent of its costs, said Jeffrey Grybowski, the company’s CEO.