At first glance, Iowa seems like a strange place for a national energy capital. Our state does not have an abundance of coal, oil or natural gas. From the air, Iowa looks like farmers’ territory, reflected in its patchwork of corn and soybean fields. Zooming in, however, reveals another important piece of the Hawkeye State’s vibrant and diverse economy — 3,198 wind turbines dot the Iowa landscape. Iowa is a national leader in the production of energy from wind and ranks third for installed wind capacity, at 5,133 megawatts, or nearly 25 percent of Iowa’s electricity generated in 2012.
Iowa’s growing wind industry is reducing carbon pollution, saving water and supporting jobs, according to environmental and industry leaders. By replacing the use of fossil fuels to generate energy, Iowa’s wind energy generation avoids “more than 8.4 million metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution – the equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road,” according to a report released by Environment Iowa.
Minnesota environmental groups and wind energy advocates are urging Congress to renew federal tax credits for renewable energy projects that are set to expire at the end of the year. The production tax credit and investment tax credit have helped spur wind developments across the country, but dozens of Republican members of Congress say the subsidies have gone on long enough and that the credits should be allowed to expire.
State regulators, utilities and grid operators already tackling a slew of coal and nuclear plant closures received little information yesterday from U.S. EPA on what its looming carbon emissions limit may look like. Janet McCabe, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, told them the agency is keeping all options on the table.
State power regulators are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give states plenty of leeway to decide how they will meet upcoming carbon emissions standards for existing power plants. The National Association of State Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) adopted a resolution Wednesday calling on the EPA to recognize the “primacy” of states to “lead the creation of emission performance systems that reflect the policies, energy needs, resource mix, economic conditions of each State and region.”
The Gulf Offshore Wind Project, just off the Texas coast, may be poised to become the first commercial-scale wind farm in the United States. With long delays at the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts, a team that includes university professors and a former British oil executive says the offshore farm in the Gulf of Mexico could be the wind industry’s most viable option for a first project.
California risks stalling its renewable energy industry if it does not mandate more renewables generation, according to a new report by University of California law schools. For the state’s legal and energy policy experts, California’s success in reaching its near-term renewables targets underscores the risk of complacency.
A nonpartisan panel of congressional tax experts has determined that a bill to extend a tax break popular among fossil fuel companies to clean energy firms would cost about $1.3 billion over a decade, an aide to the bill’s sponsor said this afternoon. The Joint Committee on Taxation delivered its score this week to Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who earlier this year introduced the “Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act,” which is seen as a candidate for inclusion in a broader tax reform package.
Five miles off the coast of South Padre Island lays the beginning of the Gulf Offshore Wind Project, which developers like to refer to by the optimistic acronym GOWind. Right now the only thing marking the 41,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico that have been leased is a buoy recording the paths of the birds and bats flying overhead. But in three years’ time, a team including university professors and a former British oil executive is hoping to have the nation’s first commercial scale wind farm installed and eventually generating enough power for 1.8 million homes – at least when the wind is blowing.
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, has asked the Office of Management and Budget to calculate how much revenue the government receives from various energy sources — such as oil and gas revenues — compared to what it spends through grant programs and tax benefits to energy providers.