A group of Republican senior statesmen is pushing for a carbon tax to combat the effects of climate change, and hoping to sell their plan to the White House. Former Secretary of State Jim Baker is leading the effort, which also includes former Secretary of State George Shultz. In an opinion piece published Tuesday night in The Wall Street Journal, they argued “there is mounting evidence of problems with the atmosphere that are growing too compelling to ignore.” The group will meet Wednesday with White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council. Ivanka Trump is also expected to attend, according to a person familiar with the plans. The person was not authorized to discuss the meeting publicly and insisted on anonymity.
Germany’s pioneering turn toward clean energy is approaching another milestone with a new round of auctions for wind power expected to push the price of electricity from renewables to record lows. Rules for tenders in the next contest were implemented to bring wind and solar growth under control after capacity outpaced the German grid’s ability to absorb new flows of power and burdened consumers with higher costs. The auctions will test whether Europe’s industrial engine, which still produces more power from coal than renewables, can achieve its climate commitments.
Utah State lawmakers and officials from Utah’s solar industry have reached an agreement for phasing out tax credits for residents installing rooftop arrays, partly by increasing those incentives while they are still available. Many said they have mixed feelings about the compromise to eliminate the tax breaks by 2021, which emerged this week on Capitol Hill and is now headed to a House floor debate.
President Donald Trump promised to spur a hiring renaissance after he won election last year by bulldozing regulations he says stymie economic growth. Yet he has vowed to strip tax incentives from an industry that, according to figures released Tuesday, created one out of every 50 new jobs in the United States last year, up from 1 in 83 a year earlier. The solar industry, by all accounts, is booming, according to the new National Solar Jobs Census, an annual report released by the nonpartisan Solar Foundation. Solar energy companies employed 260,077 workers in 2016, an increase of more than 51,000 jobs. That’s slightly more than the natural gas industry, and more than double the coal business.
Jobs in the U.S. solar industry grew 25 percent last year to include more than 260,000 workers, according to a report by sector advocacy group the Solar Foundation on Tuesday.
Solar’s dramatic jobs growth, including its largest annual percentage gain in the six years the Solar Foundation has tracked the data, is a key benefit renewable energy advocates hope will convince President Donald Trump to maintain federal support for solar power.
From Facebook data centers to Tide laundry detergent, America’s favorite brands increasingly have one thing in common: a pledge to transition to 100 percent renewable energy, and they’re choosing wind as a low-risk, reliable solution. A few years ago, Fortune 500 companies started making remarkable shifts in the way they powered their stores, factories and data centers — they took matters into their own hands and began directly buying renewable energy.
It is precisely the size, both of the projects and the profits they can bring, that has grabbed the attention of financial institutions, money managers and private equity funds, like the investment bank Goldman Sachs, as well as wealthy individuals like the owner of the Danish toymaker Lego. As the technology has improved and demand for renewable energy has risen, costs have fallen. And offshore wind, once a fringe investment, with limited scope and reliant on government subsidies, is moving into the mainstream. Europe, too, looks all the more attractive, as the United States under President Trump rethinks its stance on renewables.
Former and current employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expressed opposition to President Donald Trump’s pick to run the agency on Monday – in an open letter and a small street protest – reflecting divisions over the new administration’s plans to slash regulation. Over 400 former EPA staff members sent a letter to the U.S. Senate asking it to reject the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the agency’s new leader, saying “he has shown no interest in enforcing environmental laws.”
The wind and solar industries, along with the electrical transmission sector, have long lamented the protracted and costly pace of regulatory approval needed to upgrade the nation’s grid. Efforts to get the sanctions to build and operate new transmission lines can take as long as a decade and with a price tag in the billions of dollars. County ordinances, state regulatory agencies and federal government oversight have splintered the process that enables the delivery of clean energy from more remote locations in the nation to areas with high energy demand. Efforts to mediate these issues and harmonize the regulatory authority among the various players should be put on the front policy burner to optimize the benefits of vast new energy sources.
In a few hours, FERC will become a two-woman show after Commissioner Norman Bay departs at the end of the day. That will leave the commission without a quorum for the first time in its 40-year history. Bay’s decision to leave the agency so soon after having the chairman’s gavel taken from him by President Donald Trump has stirred the agency and left energy analysts, industry big wigs, lawyers, and lobbyists fretting over just how much work screeches to a halt.