News

Senate Begins Debate on Comprehensive Bipartisan Energy Bill

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, January 28th, 2016

The Senate on Wednesday started debating its first comprehensive energy legislation since the George W. Bush administration, a bipartisan measure meant to update the nation’s power grid and oil and gas transportation systems to address major changes in the ways that power is now produced in the United States. Since passage of the last major energy law, in 2007, the United States has gone from fears of oil and gas shortages to becoming the world’s leading producer of both fuels. The use of wind and solar power is rapidly accelerating as those sources become cheaper than fossil fuels in some parts of the country. And President Obama’s clean air regulations are reshaping the nation’s power systems, as electric utilities shutter coal-fired power plants and replace them with alternative sources. But the nation’s energy infrastructure has not kept pace with those changes.

Mark Twain’s town takes spotlight in wind superhighway battle

Source: Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

The small Mississippi River city of Hannibal, Mo., best known as the site of Mark Twain’s boyhood home, could play a big role in a developer’s effort to win regulatory approval for a $2.2 billion wind energy superhighway across the Midwest. Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners has worked for years to develop the 770-mile direct-current transmission line that would connect yet-to-be-built wind farms in western Kansas to power markets in the eastern United States.

Study finds switch to clean energy in U.S. can be fast and cheap

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Wind and sunshine could power most of the United States by 2030 without raising electricity prices, according to a new study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Even when optimizing to cut costs and limiting themselves to existing technology, scientists showed that renewables can meet energy demands and slash carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 80 percent below 1990 levels.

Lawmaker lobbies to expand tax credit for batteries

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

A senior House lawmaker is lobbying the Obama administration to authorize more tax incentives for energy storage technologies. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), a member of the Congressional Battery Storage Caucus, is circulating a draft letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen to press the caucus’s case.
Treasury and the IRS are updating current guidance on the scope of the so-called investment tax credit, which helps companies buy alternative energy sources.

States ask Supreme Court to halt climate rule

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

The states and agencies that signed on to the petition with West Virginia are Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the Mississippi Public Service Commission, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

States Seek Court Delay in Enforcement of Clean Power Plan

Source: By Michael Biesecker, Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

A coalition of 25 states opposing President Obama’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to stop the new regulations from taking effect until after their legal challenge is resolved. West Virginia and Texas led the group of mostly Republican states that asked Chief Justice John Roberts to immediately bar the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing the Clean Power Plan. Roberts can consider the application on his own or refer it to the full court. The move came after an appeals court in Washington last week denied a similar request, handing a significant procedural victory to the Obama administration.

The U.S. Could Switch to Mostly Renewable Energy, No Batteries Needed

Source: By Sarah Zielinski, The Smithsonian • Posted: Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

The United States could lower carbon emissions from electricity generation by as much as 78 percent without having to develop any new technologies or use costly batteries, a new study suggests. There’s a catch, though. The country would have to build a new national transmission network so that states could share energy. “Our idea was if we had a national ‘interstate highway for electrons’ we could move the power around as it was needed, and we could put the wind and solar plants in the very best places,” says study co-author Alexander MacDonald, who recently retired as director of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

Senate to dive into bipartisan package

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

After a blizzard-induced delay, the Senate will today open debate on long-awaited broad and bipartisan energy reform legislation backed by Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “I don’t know about you all, but I spent a good portion of my weekend shoveling,” Murkowski said on the Senate floor yesterday. “I feel stronger today, but I’m ready to be back at work where it’s a little less rigorous.”

Utilities push a solar pricing proposal they say is fairer for non-solar users

Source: By Ivan Penn, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric are pushing back against a regulator proposal for new rules on compensating California homeowners and businesses for the solar power they produce. The three investor-owned utilities have united in an unusual counterproposal that would be less generous to solar-panel owners than the plan that the California Public Utilities Commission is set to vote on next week.

Koch propagandist attacks wind tax break; is mum on fossil fuel subsidies

Source: By Elliott Negin, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Gall? Nerve? Chutzpah? Call it what you like, but Christine Harbin’s two recent anti-wind columns in The Hill are prime examples of Koch-funded dishonesty—and hypocrisy.