The Obama administration is encouraging the development of wind farms off Hawaii, issuing a request for information yesterday to gauge the interest of the offshore wind industry Interior Secretary Sally Jewell described the move as “another milestone in the President’s plan to support clean, renewable energy from the Nation’s vast wind and solar resources.” Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has so far awarded 11 commercial offshore wind leases throughout the United States.
The largest wind energy power line in the southeast may soon be coming to North Mississippi, says Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley. Presley said Pattern Energy, a subsidiary of Southern Cross Transmission Project, is expected to submit a proposal in September to bring a 400-mile line, going from Texas to North Mississippi.
Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont., has announced a new blueprint for Montana’s energy future. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), which is praising the governor’s plan, the blueprint recognizes the value of a stronger electricity grid and the expansion of wind power in the state. In recent weeks, Bullock says he met with wind and solar developers, energy efficiency advocates, small businesses and coal workers in order to gather input and perspective from all sectors of the energy industry.
The Rhode Island General Assembly has voted to raise the state’s renewable energy standard to 40 percent by the end of 2035. Lawmakers approved the measure over the weekend, and the governor is expected to sign it into law soon. Mark Kresowik, a regional deputy director for the Sierra Club, called it a “great step toward ultimately getting to 100 percent clean energy in the region.”
Rhode Island’s legislature passed a bill that raises the renewable energy mandate from 14.5% by 2019 to 40% by 2035, joining a growing number of US states that have done so to diversify their energy mix and reduce CO2 emissions. Governor Gina Raimondo, a strong supporter of wind energy development, is expected to sign the bill, 2016-S 2185A/House 7413B into law.
Lawmakers and aides from both sides of the aisle said this week’s turn of events underscore how partisan Capitol Hill has become this election season. They say partisan tensions from the protest will leave an already polarized Congress even more hard-pressed to pass any significant legislation, including an energy overhaul and the annual spending bills, before this November’s general elections.
Storing electricity adds value to intermittent renewable energy, and a new study could help investors figure out where to place their bets on storage technology development. Lulls in wind and sunshine present a challenging problem for utilities that need to deliver stable power. Storing electrons for later — whether using batteries, flywheels or pumped hydropower — would help shave peaks and fill valleys in power production. However, much of the technology on the market isn’t ready for prime time, often too expensive or falling short in some critical performance metric.
Tesla Motors’ stock is taking a hit today as financial analysts question the wisdom of the automotive company joining forces with SolarCity. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced plans yesterday to acquire the solar installer as part of a broad effort to integrate the company’s existing residential battery business with solar power (ClimateWire, June 22). The stock had fallen more than 7 percent by publishing time. Meanwhile, multiple investors slammed the deal, with one saying it stretches the “bounds of industrial logic.”
PG&E Corp.’s plan to shut California’s last nuclear power plant by 2025 would cost $15 billion if all its output is replaced with solar-generated electricity at current prices, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analysts. Actual costs could be lower because the company expects to account for reduced demand and replace only part of the plant’s production, energy policy analyst Rob Barnett said Wednesday in an interview. PG&E plans to use a mix of renewables, storage and energy conservation in place of the Diablo Canyon nuclear complex, the utility’s chief executive officer, Tony Earley, said Tuesday.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat facing re-election challenges, released an energy blueprint yesterday that he said is aimed at protecting coal jobs while embracing renewable power and energy efficiency. The state holds more coal reserves than any other — making the future of the energy sector a big election-year issue (ClimateWire, March 10). Montana is also grappling with what to do with its large Colstrip coal plant, which is facing environmental regulations and financial pressures as some co-owners eye exit strategies.