Just last year, Virginia was poised to become the first U.S. state to tap the Atlantic coast’s offshore winds. That’s when Dominion Resources Inc., the commonwealth’s largest electric utility, doubled down on its promise to build a 12-megawatt wind power facility 25 miles off Virginia Beach, with notions of eventually siting hundreds of turbine towers across a swath of open ocean. But if Virginia was first out of the gate in its pursuit of offshore wind power, it has fallen far behind today as it watches a handful of other Atlantic states put “steel in the water” much more quickly than Dominion.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) struck a more positive tone on negotiations to go to conference with the House on energy after meeting with top House and Senate lawmakers this morning, but stopped short of saying she’s ready to vote to launch formal talks. The ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee described “good conversations” with Energy Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska); House Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.); and House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.).
The Danish Parliament is considering delaying the construction of new wind farms as it prepares to end an electricity tax for renewable energy. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board called it a sign that “economic and political reality is catching up with Europe’s green ambitions.” The European Commission ruled that Denmark’s green levy on electricity bills violated E.U. rules in 2014. The levy contributes to energy bills that are the highest in Europe. Parliament is considering ending the levy altogether rather than fixing it.
A bipartisan House coalition urged Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today to finalize a proposed rule that would establish competitive leasing for renewable energy projects on federal lands across the West. Fourteen House members led by California Reps. Paul Cook (R) and Alan Lowenthal (D) wrote in a three-page letter to Jewell that completion of the rule unveiled in 2014 is critical to continue the unprecedented effort by the Obama administration to develop commercial-scale solar, wind and geothermal projects on federal lands.
Elon Musk has built an ambitious business empire on three pillars: electric cars, solar energy and space travel. Now, the billionaire entrepreneur is trying to shore up his embattled solar panel provider by merging it with the electric carmaker. His Tesla Motors said on Tuesday that it had offered to buy SolarCity in an all-stock deal, one that could value the latter at as much as $2.8 billion. The aim, Mr. Musk argues, is to create a renewable-energy giant, collecting clean electricity and putting it to work propelling cars.
California, among the first states to embrace nuclear energy in the 1950s, may be breaking things off for good. Under a proposal announced on Tuesday, Pacific Gas and Electric would shutter the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, the state’s last operating nuclear facility, and would compensate for the lost output with technologies that do not emit greenhouse gases, including renewable energy.
The pressure from environmentalists raises new questions about whether there will be 60 votes in the Senate to go to conference, a vote that Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said yesterday could happen as soon as tomorrow. Murkowski noted that she and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) would meet with House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and their respective ranking members, Democratic Reps. Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Raúl Grijalva of Arizona.
Congress seems unlikely to wrap up its annual appropriations work until later this year, but lawmakers from both parties are eager to strike a quick deal on a Zika funding package. House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer raised fresh doubts yesterday over whether Congress will complete its fiscal 2017 work before December, leaving federal agencies to operate under current funding for at least the first three months of the new fiscal year.
The Senate this week could vote to go to conference with the House on energy legislation, Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said yesterday. “I’m really hopeful that we’re going to be able to have a vote on it this week,” Murkowski told E&E Daily last night, saying she was encouraged by the meeting of the six House and Senate lawmakers who will play a key role in reconciling the chambers’ competing bills.
House progressives are planning to hold a forum this week to argue that the oil and gas industry is taking its cue from Big Tobacco in its attempts to thwart investigations on climate change. The planned gathering Wednesday afternoon, called “Oil Is the New Tobacco,” will bring together members of Congress, climate researchers and environmental activists.