Buffett-owned utility reducing coal use

Source: Manuel Quinones, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

MidAmerican Energy Co., a unit of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Iowa’s largest energy company, is phasing out coal in seven boilers at three company power plants, according to a settlement with the Sierra Club. The proposed consent decree, filed today in Southern Iowa U.S. District Court, follows a lawsuit threat from the Sierra Club in July. Environmentalists accused the company of Clean Air Act violations at its Neal Energy Center, Walter Scott Jr. Energy Center and Riverside Generating Station.

Ore. town chosen as first major wave energy test site in U.S.

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The town of Newport, Ore. (population 9,968), calls itself the “Dungeness crab capital of the world.” Soon, though, it may instead be known as the wave energy capital of America. The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC), based out of Oregon State University, recently announced plans to build the United States’ first utility-scale, grid-connected wave energy test site in Newport. At what will be called the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC), scientists and engineers will test up to four devices brought in by different developers to determine the cost of deep-water wave energy technology, as well as the environmental and social impacts.

O’Malley tries again on offshore wind energy

Source: Written by Brian Witte, Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday rolled out a measure he hopes will put the state on the path to becoming a leader in offshore wind energy development in the mid-Atlantic region. The governor’s third try in three years resembles a bill he pushed for last year. It would establish a regulatory framework to create an incentive for companies to invest in an offshore wind project by requiring electricity suppliers to buy offshore renewable energy credits.

White House tamps down expectations for climate legislation

Source: John McArdle, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Basking in praise from environmentalists because President Obama shined a spotlight on climate change in his inaugural address, the White House today sought to avoid raising expectations about specific new legislation aimed at curbing global warming. “I’m not going to speculate for you about future actions,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said when asked about how Obama intends to follow up on climate change comments.

Granholm pitches ‘Race to Top’ grant program for states

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is said to be in the running to take over the Department of Energy if Steven Chu resigns, captivated a crowd of DOE staff and outside stakeholders with a pitch to promote clean energy deployment with a state-based competition modeled on the popular education program “Race to the Top.” Granholm’s pitch came at DOE’s “All Stars” event Saturday afternoon that featured a series of presentations from energy experts modeled off TED talks.

Climate nabs spotlight at Green Ball

Source: Whitney Blair Wyckoff, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Vice President Joe Biden last night urged environmentalists to “keep the faith” on climate issues as he made a surprise appearance at the Green Inaugural Ball. President Obama is committed to tackling the issue during his second term, Biden said to roaring applause at the event, hosted by the National Wildlife Federation at Washington, D.C.’s Newseum.

Obama pledges U.S. leadership on climate

Source: John McArdle and Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporters • Posted: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

President Obama prominently featured climate change — calling out skeptics and calling for America to lead a worldwide transition to new energy technologies — in his inaugural address today. While this second address on the steps of the Capitol was about 300 words shorter than his first, Obama spent a great deal more time today on energy and environmental issues in a speech meant as a call to action on the current challenges facing America.

Obama’s Chance for a Fresh Start on a Climate-Smart Energy Quest

Source: By ANDREW C. REVKIN, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

It was heartening to see President Obama include an ample reference to the importance of climate-smart energy policies in his short inaugural address today. The speech is presumably a sketch of what’s to come in the State of the Union message and policy initiatives this year.

Despite dawn of a new term, forecast cloudy for energy and enviro issues

Source: Nick Juliano, Jean Chemnick and Phil Taylor, E&E reporters • Posted: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The inauguration is over, and a new Congress is getting organized this week. So time to get to work, right?
Not so fast, at least when it comes to the plethora of pending energy and environmental issues — from power plant rules to pipeline permits — that are awaiting action in President Obama’s second term and will draw intense scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

Climate Change Given Prominence in Obama’s Address

Source: By RICHARD W. STEVENSON and JOHN M. BRODER, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

President Obama made addressing climate change the most prominent policy vow of his second Inaugural Address on Monday, setting in motion what Democrats say will be a deliberately paced but aggressive campaign built around the use of his executive powers to sidestep Congressional opposition. “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Mr. Obama said, at the start of eight full sentences on the subject, more than he devoted to any other specific area. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”