Conferees outline priorities in first meeting

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

House and Senate energy reform conferees signaled a willingness to bridge the many differences between their respective bills today. At the same time, they outlined a laundry list of competing priorities for a final agreement. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is leading the first formal energy conference since 2005, pledged to use the same “open and bipartisan manner” that she and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) used to assemble and pass the upper chamber’s bill, S. 2012, with broad bipartisan backing in April.

Split inside solar industry spills into the open

Source: Rod Kuckro, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

A long-simmering rift in the U.S. solar industry has become public just days before thousands of industry participants gather in Las Vegas for the largest solar trade show in North America. The campaign calling for a change in governance of the Solar Energy Industries Association by unhappy executives of distributed generation companies also comes at a time when the trade group is looking for a successor to the lobby’s longtime president and CEO, Rhone Resch, who left at the end of May.

Ohio Supreme Court strikes down challenge to wind-farm approval

Source: By Dan Gearing, The Columbus Dispatch • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a challenge of the way state officials approved a wind farm in Champaign County. In a unanimous ruling released on Wednesday, the court found that the Ohio Power Siting Board was proper in the way it approved revisions to a proposal for the Buckeye I wind farm. But there remains a separate pending appeal that is delaying construction of the project.

Governor Brown signs landmark climate bill

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) will signed a bill yesterday enshrining greenhouse gas targets in the nation’s most populous state through 2030. The measure, S.B. 32 by state Sen. Fran Pavley (D), would require the state to reduce its carbon emissions to 40 percent below 1990 emissions levels by 2030, the most aggressive target of any state.

Energy storage projects grow at record levels

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

The U.S. energy storage sector is on track to notch another record growth year in 2016, spurred by government backing, rising utility investment and the scaling of storage systems to provide backup power over longer periods, new industry data show. The United States deployed 41.2 megawatts of energy storage capacity during the second quarter, up 126 percent from the previous quarter and slightly higher than the same quarter of 2015, according to data released yesterday by GTM Research.

Expiring tax breaks threaten baseload power — groups

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

Renewable energy interests are once again scrambling to extend a key tax incentive that will expire at the end of the year. In a letter sent to House and Senate leaders yesterday, the National Hydropower Association, American Biogas Council, Biomass Power Association and Energy Recovery Council called for lawmakers to take “immediate action” to extend tax breaks that will expire Dec. 31.

Promoters of cleaner electric grid zapped by roadblocks

Source: John Fialka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

In the West, it can involve as many as nine federal agencies. States sometimes delegate their role to multiple agencies. Even counties can get involved in the deliberations. The upshot is that going through the legal hoops and keeping investment capital at the ready for several of the proposed lines has set back construction for years. Congress tried to solve this problem in 2005 and failed. In 2011, the Obama administration, which supports many of the projects, picked seven pending interstate AC and DC power lines, promising to push them through this bureaucratic mess by forming a “rapid response team for transmission.”

House Democrats demand infrastructure funding in reform bill

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 9th, 2016

“Today, much of our energy infrastructure is aging, rooted in the past, and doesn’t really serve our current and future energy needs,” he told colleagues. A final product should focus on modernizing our infrastructure and reducing its vulnerabilities to extreme weather and attacks from those seeking to do us harm,” he said. “It should also facilitate the deployment of smarter electric grids that support more distributed and renewable energy generation.”

Energy execs, AGs huddled at resort ahead of litigation

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Attorneys general from Republican-led states met with energy executives at the West Virginia’s storied Greenbrier resort less than two weeks before they filed a lawsuit last year aimed at halting U.S. EPA’s rule for curbing greenhouse gases from power plants. The closed-door meetings took place last August at a four-day summit hosted by the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), according to an agendaobtained by a watchdog group using public records requests.

Prius sales plummet in U.S. when gas is cheap

Source: By Sean McLain, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Thursday, September 8th, 2016

While Toyota Motor Corp.’s signature Prius is topping sales charts in its home country of Japan, sales in the United States have slumped significantly due to low gas prices. Sales of the electric-gasoline hybrid, marketed as environmentally friendly, were down 26 percent in 2016 through August. The newest version of the car gets 54 mpg, making it the most fuel-efficient Prius yet.