News

Obama launches adaptation task force, orders agencies to bolster planning

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, November 4th, 2013

President Obama ordered the creation today of a high-level task force aimed at bolstering the roles of state and local governments in national preparation for the impacts of climate change. Obama’s executive order launches a 24-member task force including the governors of seven states and Guam and 18 officials from local and tribal governments. The panel will identify opportunities for “removing barriers to resilient investments, modernizing federal grant and loan programs to better support local efforts, and developing the information and tools they need to prepare,” the White House said.

McCabe defends EPA outreach on rules for existing power plants

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, November 4th, 2013

U.S. EPA’s acting air chief shot back Friday at critics who have accused the agency of avoiding coal country when gathering input on a forthcoming carbon dioxide rule for existing power plants. Janet McCabe wrote in a blog post that the agency is “conducting unprecedented and vigorous outreach and public engagement with key stakeholders and the general public” ahead of proposing its guidance in June to curb CO2 from today’s power fleet.

Wind energy industry seeing growth; tax credit uncertainty looms

Source: by Christopher Doering, Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, November 4th, 2013

Wind energy installations are gaining momentum, but uncertainty looms over the future of a tax credit has helped the industry grow, according to a trade group. The American Wind Industry Association said Thursday utilities are taking advantage of the extension of the Production Tax Credit , which provides a 2.2-cent-per-kilowatt-hour benefit for electricity generated from utility-scale turbines during the first 10 years of a facility’s operation.

Schwarzenegger urges parties to collaborate on climate change

Source: Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 1st, 2013

Former California governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger urged Congress to work together toward solutions to curb climate change at an event to honor his leadership on the issue. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, told ClimateWire that he kept partisan politics separate from his work to lower greenhouse gas emissions. “I would never, ever make politics an issue when talking about environmental issues,” he said. “I hope that the United States, that the Republicans and Democrats would get together and come up with a really sound energy and environmental policy for the future.”

Markey bill would mandate that utilities buy renewables, boost efficiency

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 1st, 2013

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced his first bill since joining the Senate earlier this year, aiming to require electric utilities to provide 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and to mandate reductions in energy use by both electric and natural gas utilities. The bill is the second effort to create a nationwide renewable energy standard (RES), a long-standing goal of environmentalists and clean energy advocates who hope to build on existing policies in more than two dozen states. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) earlier this week introduced a 25 percent by 2025 RES, although their bill did not include the separate efficiency standard in Markey’s

Industry presses for predictable policies after sluggish start to year

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 1st, 2013

Activity in the industry started picking up this fall, with about 68 MW installed between July and September, and wind farms capable of generating more than 2,000 MW are now under construction, according to the American Wind Energy Association. But the group says the sharp slowdown early this year following a brief expiration of the production tax credit demonstrates the influence the federal government has over the success or failure of the wind industry. “Our No. 1 challenge is the uncertain, unpredictable policy environment in which the wind industry has to operate,” AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan told reporters today.

In Brazil, the wind is blowing in a new era of renewable energy

Source: By Juan Forero, Published: October 30, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Wind is emerging as a prize for energy planners who see the howling gusts that arrive from the east as a way to offset the fresh limits imposed on hydropower. A string of wind-turbine parks is being erected in the nation’s windiest stretches, in what planners here see as the beginning of an extraordinary transformation. No one expects that wind will outpace dams as the main source of Brazil’s electricity. But the goals remain audacious for a country that projects an annual rise in electricity consumption of up to 5 percent in coming years.

Panel prescribes major fixes for aging U.S. power grid

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Today, everything from bank receipts to the batting averages of baseball players can be coded into megabytes and lines of data. Yet in the United States, the basic infrastructure that underpins these systems — the grid that feeds them with electrons — remains largely untouched by the computerization boom of the past half-century.

Fear is rising in oil industry that tax breaks would be axed in reform bill

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Oil and natural gas lobbyists have spent more than a year urging lawmakers to maintain targeted tax breaks for extracting and transporting their products, but there are signs of a growing fear within the industry that impending legislation to overhaul the tax code for the first time in a generation would eliminate most of those incentives in order to lower the top-line rate paid by all companies.

OPINION: Nebraska is a loser in the wind-energy boom

Source: By John Upton, Grist • Posted: Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

It’s hard to find anywhere in America that’s windier than Nebraska, where sweeping flat lands offer little to break up the gusts. So why isn’t the state dotted with turbines?