Senate finishes energy and water bill, strikes Zika deal

Source: Geof Koss and Hannah Hess, E&E reporters • Posted: Monday, May 23rd, 2016

The Senate this afternoon easily passed the $37.5 billion energy and water development spending bill. Lawmakers also touted an agreement to spend $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus.
Senators voted 90-8 for the energy and water bill after adopting an amendment by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) setting aside funds in the bill to revise certain water project and flood control documents. The measure passed by voice vote.

Moniz dismisses Trump’s call to change climate deal 

Source: By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

Moniz said he wouldn’t directly comment on Trump’s promise to Reuters on Tuesday that “at a minimum I will be renegotiating those agreements.” Trump said the deal was unfair, economically, to the United States economy.But Moniz noted the climate deal has built-in reassessments over the next few decades. He said, though, that countries should use those to ramp up the greenhouse gas reduction commitments they enshrined last year in the Paris deal.

Storing more heat cheaply is the next challenge for solar power

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

At Germany’s aerospace agency, the next frontier is capturing the sun here on Earth and keeping it on tap. In a 4-year-old glass and steel building near the Cologne-Bonn Airport, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany’s equivalent of NASA, are working on new ways to produce more heat than light in order to smooth over intermittency, one of the biggest drawbacks of solar power on the grid.

Upton expects House negotiators to be named next week

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

The House passed its more narrowly drawn energy bill (H.R. 8) in December, and Energy and Commerce leaders called for a quick conference after the Senate approved a far broader version (S. 2012) this spring. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee leaders have been more cautious, saying they would welcome a conference but want to have informal discussions first to lay the groundwork for a deal.

California Senate leader promises ‘concerted push’ to cement GHG target

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

California lawmakers hope to enshrine greenhouse gas policies through 2030, as renewed anxieties surface about the state’s legal footing. The head of the state Senate said last week that he would resume efforts to pass S.B. 32, a bill by state Sen. Fran Pavley (D) setting 2030 emissions targets that floundered at the end of last year on opposition from members of the State Assembly.

Clean-tech index highlights renewable surge

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

In 2015, California became the first state to generate 10 percent of its in-state electricity from solar power. Vermont, meanwhile, doubled its utility-scale solar generation last year. And half of the top 10 U.S. states for utility-scale clean electricity voted Republican in the last presidential election.

Microgrids or large high-voltage lines? Experts call for both

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

Speaking last week at IRENA’s innovation conference, he noted that the optimum wind and solar resources in China can be as far as 4,000 kilometers (or 2,485 miles) away from some of the country’s biggest smog-choked cities. “If we want to use these resources, we are faced with a huge problem: How can you transfer this renewable energy to load centers?” Lei said.

Big solar worked to kill Maine solar energy bill

Source: BY TUX TURKEL, Portland Press Herald • Posted: Thursday, May 19th, 2016

The Maine lawmakers who last month defeated a landmark bill that would have expanded solar energy had unusual allies: national companies that are the country’s largest installers of rooftop solar panels. The companies, led by California-based Sunrun Inc. and SolarCity, hired lobbyists to fight the bill, donated money to political action committees that benefit the bill’s opponents and used social media to push an alternative measure that created a smokescreen for the bill’s detractors.

Getting to 50% renewables a ‘no-brainer’ — utility CEO

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, May 19th, 2016

California’s mandate to make half its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 isn’t just feasible, “it’s a no-brainer. We will get there,” the head of the state’s largest utility said here yesterday. Anthony Earley, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s chairman, CEO and president, said his utility already is ahead of the state’s earlier mandate to generate 33 percent of its power from green sources by 2020.

Climate regs could have modest impact on electricity prices — EIA

Source: Emily Holden and Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Electricity prices in the later years of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan might be 3 percent higher than without the rule, according to an early release of part of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s outlook for 2016. Those figures are significantly lower than analyses cited by opponents of the climate rule that project 11 to 14 percent increases