A federal appeals court yesterday rejected a challenge from environmental groups to a large wind farm project east of San Diego. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the Interior Department adequately weighed the environment impacts of Tule Wind LLC’s project. Groups including the Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps were challenging the agency’s 2011 environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as the proposed project’s impact on migratory birds.
The Obama administration said today a federal appeals court’s decision knocking down a challenge to a California wind farm supports its arguments in another case involving migratory bird protections. The Justice Department sent a letter to another federal appeals court that’s weighing a separate lawsuit against the long-stalled Cape Wind offshore wind project planned for coastal Massachusetts. The DOJ urged the Washington, D.C.-based court to agree with their counterparts in California.
The House Rules Committee took triple-barreled aim at the Obama administration’s environment and energy agenda last night, clearing the way for floor votes this week on a bill to delay U.S. EPA’s new ground-level ozone standard, as well as two resolutions offering symbolic opposition to potential climate change policies. Administration regulations are “killing our jobs,” Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said shortly before the panel voted 7-4 along party lines to advance all three measures.
Whether or not the Senate launches the first conference committee on energy legislation in a decade is in the hands of Senate Democrats, who continue to express concerns with the House’s revised version. Energy and Natural Resources Committee Democrats say legislation the House passed before recess is laden with veto-bait and doesn’t bode well for efforts to reconcile the competing measures.
Key House and Senate lawmakers are planning to meet next week to discuss how an energy conference committee would operate, as Democrats in the upper chamber continue to express doubts about the prospects of reconciling competing bills. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and co-sponsor of the Senate package, S. 2012, told E&E Daily about the likely meeting.
A new poll shows a wide gap between Democrats and Republicans on how important climate change is to their vote for president. The Gallup poll found that 72 percent of Democrats say that the issue of climate change is “extremely” or “very” important in how they vote for a presidential candidate. Just 25 percent of Republicans say that the issue is important.
While oil markets will start re-balancing after a slump next year, an oversupply in natural gas won’t disappear until the end of the decade, the International Energy Agency said, slashing its gas demand outlook for a fourth straight year. Global consumption will expand by 1.5 percent annually from 2015 through 2021, down from last year’s forecast of 2 percent growth from 2014 through 2020 and a 2.5 gain over the prior six years, the Paris-based agency said Wednesday in its Medium-Term Gas Market Report. The slowdown will be driven by weaker use in the U.S. and Japan as the fuel struggles to compete against booming renewables and “very cheap” coal in power generation.
EDF Energy Renewables, a joint venture between EDF Energy and EDF Energies Nouvelles, has started to build a new offshore wind farm off the coast of Blyth in Northumberland in Britain, the firm said on Tuesday. The wind farm will have a maximum total generating capacity of almost 100 megawatts and provide enough low-carbon electricity to power 33,000 homes, the company said.
Nevada is mulling the future of its law requiring that some of its energy come from renewables as members of a state task force assert that the measure is no longer driving construction of new wind, solar and other clean energy projects. An advisory committee to Nevada’s New Energy Industry Task Force, reconvened this year by Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), met yesterday to discuss strengthening the state’s renewable portfolio standard or phasing it out. It could potentially be replaced by a policy that constrains how much fossil-fuel-fired generation is allowed in the state.
Large technology companies that use massive amounts of energy are now sourcing more power directly from renewables as opposed to purchasing renewable energy credits to offset their carbon footprints. “Direct sourcing is important to us because our goal is really the transformation of the electric grid,” said Brian Janous, the director of energy strategy for Microsoft Cor