Minnesota’s efforts to fight climate change lose steam

Source: By Elizabeth Dunbar and Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio • Posted: Monday, February 9th, 2015

Eight years after a historic act of bipartisanship to address climate change, whirling wind turbines dot Minnesota’s landscape, and solar panels glisten on urban rooftops. The state’s utilities are ahead of schedule in meeting a mandate to provide 25 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The mandate was part of a 2007 energy initiative under former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. But the state is falling short of the promise made in a second law the same year, the Next Generation Energy Act, which Pawlenty signed after nearly unanimous legislative approval. It created a goal to reduce Minnesota’s share of the heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that scientists overwhelmingly agree are driving climate change.

Colorado Springs farm gets go-ahead from county 

Source: By Ryan Maye Handy, Colorado Springs Gazette • Posted: Monday, February 9th, 2015

Commissioners in El Paso County, Colo., unanimously approved a wind farm yesterday just minutes before midnight, nearly 15 hours after beginning a meeting on the controversial project. A stream of local residents voiced their support and opposition to the project. Many in the Greater Colorado Springs area raised concerns about property values, views and health effects that could arise from NextEra Energy Resources’ plan to alter the route of a 29-mile aboveground power line across the plains.

Arkansas’ first wind farm planned near Springdale

Source: By DAN HOLTMEYER, Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette • Posted: Monday, February 9th, 2015

Plans to build Arkansas’ first wind farm have sparked interest and excitement in town and across the state, though some wind power experts cautioned against overselling the project. Representatives of Dragonfly Industries International, a Texas wind energy company, told city officials last month they hope to build dozens of turbines on more than 300 acres of rural land about a mile west of Elm Springs at a cost of at least $100 million, according to City Council and Planning Commission minutes. Power could flow to tens of thousands of homes with the farm’s expected capacity of 80 megawatts.

House Republicans set to flesh out sweeping energy plan 

Source: Nick Juliano and Hannah Northey, E&E reporters • Posted: Monday, February 9th, 2015

Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton this week will take the first significant step on the long road toward a new comprehensive energy bill, which would be the most ambitious overhaul to policies affecting pipelines, transmission and energy efficiency in more than eight years.

Problems that killed FutureGen now threaten other projects 

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 6th, 2015

Following its decision to scrap nearly $1 billion in funding for the FutureGen 2.0 carbon capture project in Illinois, the Department of Energy today warned other projects could face similar troubles. Chris Smith, DOE’s fossil energy chief, today said he decided to pull the plug on FutureGen, which involved retrofitting a coal plant with capture technology, because of a fall legal deadline to spend the money.

Washingtonians get first look at proposed clean fuels standard 

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 6th, 2015

The government of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) offered an early glimpse of a proposed rule to curb carbon in state transportation fuels yesterday, readying the way for public debate on what has already become a divisive issue. In form, the proposed standard looks much like those already in place in Oregon and California. It aims to cut the carbon content of fuel sold and burned in-state by 10 percent over 10 years and would be operated through a system of auctions between clean power generators, which produce credits, and fuel sellers, which must purchase them.

Senate GOP united against climate, clean energy amendments — LCV 

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, February 6th, 2015

A majority of Senate Republicans opposed every climate change and clean-energy-related amendment to the Keystone XL bill that passed last week, according to a scorecard released today by the League of Conversation Voters. During the monthlong debate on the pipeline project, 37 GOP senators earned a score of zero for opposing amendments to the bill that acknowledged climate change is real and significantly affected by human activity, along with other proposals that promoted renewable energy sources and protected public lands, the LCV study found.

Bucking GOP Trend, Michigan’s Governor Adopts Pragmatic Stance On ESPS

Source: By Lee Logan, Inside EPA • Posted: Friday, February 6th, 2015

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) appears to be one of the few Republican governors who is not calling for EPA to scrap its proposed rule setting greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for existing power plants, with the governor endorsing a shift away from coal generation and the state’s formal comments largely focusing on specific concerns with the plan.

DOE Says QER May Not Aid Industry’s Transmission Concerns Over ESPS

Source: By John Siciliano, Inside EPA • Posted: Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Industry proponents argue that EPA “ignored” the crucial role that interstate transmission projects will play in meeting the GHG rule’s targets as states turn to natural gas and renewables to comply, requiring major new transmission upgrades under the rule. To address their concerns, WIRES, a group that represents transmission owners, investors, and customers, late last year filed comments on EPA’s proposed rule that urged the agency to extend the planned 2020 interim compliance deadlines to account for the infrastructure upgrades that will be needed.

Wind, solar industries prep recommendations for EPA compliance 

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) plan to submit their recommendations in the spring, ahead of the EPA rules’ expected finalization this summer, AWEA President Tom Kiernan said today. “We do see wind and solar and other renewables as, I would say, a central part for … most states to comply with the Clean Power Plan in a cost-effective way,” Kiernan said.