Massachusetts governor signs bill lifting solar energy caps

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

A new state law could jump-start stalled solar energy projects in Massachusetts. The measure given final approval by lawmakers last week and signed Monday by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker raises caps on the state’s net metering program. Net metering allows homeowners, solar developers and municipal governments to sell excess power they generate back to the electrical grid in exchange for credit.

Hopes fade in Congress for energy reform

Source: By Devin Henry and Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Hopes are fading that Congress can pass a broad energy bill before the year ends. Leaders of energy committees in the House and Senate made it a top priority this session to pass the first major energy overhaul since 2007.

By setting their sights low and avoiding hot-button issues that could sink bipartisan action, they thought it was possible to get a bill through an often-dysfunctional Congress, even in an election year.

Old, new fights expected at bicameral energy and water markups

Source: eof Koss and Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporters • Posted: Monday, April 11th, 2016

The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up its bill Wednesday afternoon, continuing the tradition of moving early on legislation that is widely popular because it funds DOE’s nuclear weapons programs and federal laboratories. The Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee will also take up its version of the bill Wednesday, where they will also announce the discretionary spending caps known as 302(b) allocations, followed by a full committee markup Thursday.

Despite oil price plummet, record clean energy growth in 2015

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 11th, 2016

Global renewable energy capacity increased 8.3 percent in 2015, with a record 152 gigawatts of new power coming from wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal resources, findings from the International Renewable Energy Agency show. The surge comes against a backdrop of record low oil and gas prices, IRENA noted, a condition experts attribute to the renewable energy sector’s maturity and resilience to shifts in fossil fuel prices, traditionally the major driver in electricity markets.

More than 130 countries to sign climate accord on Day One

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 11th, 2016

An unprecedented number of countries plan to sign the Paris climate deal when it opens for signatures April 22, increasing the odds that the accord will enter into force before 2020. The United Nations announced last week that more than 130 countries will be on hand in New York City to sign the landmark climate deal, more than have ever signed a U.N. agreement before in its first day.

Koch rep: ‘The climate is changing’

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 11th, 2016

A representative from Koch Industries Inc. said CEO Charles Koch believes that man-made climate change is occurring. Sheryl Corrigan, Koch Industries’ environmental, health and safety director, told an audience in California that the company was focused on free-market policies to address climate change, rather than on whether climate change is real. “Charles has said the climate is changing. So, the climate is changing,” Corrigan said. “I think he’s also said, and we believe, that humans have a part in that. I think what the real question is … what are we going to do about it?”

Former FERC Chairman Wellinghoff heads to SolarCity

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 11th, 2016

The longest-serving chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is taking on a new role as chief policy officer of SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar provider. Jon Wellinghoff will advise the California-based solar installer on federal and state policy and will oversee regulatory and legislative affairs, according to a press release. He will report directly to SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, cousin of Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, who is SolarCity’s chairman.

Kansas governor hails wind farm project that includes 200 turbines; Google to buy half the output

Source: By JONATHAN SHORMAN, Topeka Capital-Journal  • Posted: Monday, April 11th, 2016

An Italian company has begun construction on a large wind farm that will dot southwest Kansas with 200 turbines, generating enough energy to power nearly 150,000 households — with internet giant Google snatching up half the output. The wind farm, spanning 60 square miles, will have a 400 megawatt capacity. Corporate executives and Gov. Sam Brownback announced the $610 million project Friday.

In turnaround, Ivanpah plant gets on track to meet projections

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

The Ivanpah solar tower plant in California’s Mojave Desert has doubled the amount of power it’s making versus a year ago, putting it on track to hit the total it promised the state, operator NRG Energy Inc. said yesterday. The largest power tower project in the world, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System last month received a six-month extension to reach the electricity total in a power purchase agreement (PPA) with utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Conservatives, public health experts weigh in on climate risks

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

Climate change poses an urgent public health risk, the White House announced yesterday in a sweeping new federal report the administration touted as the most exhaustive assessment ever done of the links between rising global temperatures and disease. The report, “The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment,” formally unveiled at the White House, finds that devastating heat, more miserable allergies and air that’s harder to breathe loom in the future if greenhouse gases continue to rise.