White House threatens to veto energy spending bill

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 1st, 2012

The White House last night issued a veto threat to a pending House spending bill to fund the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies, citing cuts to clean energy promotion and other DOE priorities and “policy riders” that would reopen the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository, undo federal building efficiency requirements and block guidance on the Clean Water Act.

Threat of summer blackouts greatest in Texas, Calif. — report

Source: Gabriel Nelson, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, May 31st, 2012

If it gets hot enough for long enough, Texas and Southern California may not have the electricity to avoid outages this summer, the overseers of the nation’s power grid warned in a forecast today. Most parts of the country should make it through the summer without a problem, says the annual report by the North American Electric Reliability Corp., a quasi-public body that supervises the regional authorities that run the U.S. electric grid.

Interior launches review of leasing area off Mass.

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, May 31st, 2012

The Obama administration today announced plans to offer potentially hundreds of thousands of acres of federal waters off Massachusetts for commercial wind development, the latest in a sweeping Interior Department push to expand the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. The wind energy area about 10 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard was trimmed to avoid an area of high sea duck concentration, as well as an area important to commercial and recreational fishermen, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said.

Obama’s Aide On Climate Change Seeking Oil, Gas Allies

Source: By Jim Snyder, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Heather Zichal spent her early days in the Obama administration pushing a climate-change bill in Congress that oil and gas companies helped to derail. Now President Barack Obama has named Zichal, his deputy assistant for energy and climate change, as a liaison to that industry, and to make sure proposed rules don’t slow the surge in U.S. natural-gas development.

Commerce places tariffs on Chinese-made wind towers

Source: Gabriel Nelson, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, May 31st, 2012

The Commerce Department ruled today that China has given improper subsidies to makers of steel towers used in utility-scale wind turbines, siding with American manufacturers and intensifying a trade dispute that is roiling the renewable energy industry. The tariffs that Commerce plans to place on Chinese imports at U.S. borders range from 13.74 percent to 26 percent, several times higher than the equivalent tariffs being placed on Chinese solar panels.

Wind farms mull radar detectors to stop bird deaths

Source: E&E • Posted: Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Wind farms are considering the use of radar units and experimental telemetry systems that would switch off turbines when birds were detected nearby. Wind turbines have been at the center of a conservation controversy as birds from the critically endangered California condors to the federally protected golden eagles have been killed by the blades.

BLM moves closer to approving major multistate power line

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The Bureau of Land Management has taken a major step toward authorizing one of the nation’s largest proposed electricity transmission projects, releasing a draft plan that the agency said addresses lingering concerns about impacts to nearby military installations and sensitive wildlife habitat. BLM today published in the Federal Register a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the 530-mile-long SunZia Southwest Transmission Project that has been under federal review for three years. The power line would have the capacity to transport as much as 4,500 megawatts of mostly renewables-generated electricity from northeast New Mexico to an electric distribution point northwest of Tucson, Ariz.

On Clean Energy, Time To Follow Where Google, GE, Buffett Lead

Source: Manish Bapna, Contributor, Forbes • Posted: Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Google is backing it. So is Warren Buffett, America’s most-watched investor. GE, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers, is too. Each of these corporate icons is placing big bets and hundreds of millions of dollars on a future powered by wind and solar power. Apple just joined them, announcing plans to power its main U.S. data center in Maiden, North Carolina, entirely with renewable energy by the end of this year. So why – yet again – are pundits making dire warnings about prospects for renewable energy?

Grid problems steer China’s huge wind power industry into financial doldrums

Source: Coco Liu, E&E Asian correspondent • Posted: Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

After years of nurturing China’s wind power sector to become the largest in the world, the nation’s policymakers now appear to have second thoughts. A succession of government policies issued during the past few months have begun pushing officials and developers to shift their focus from building more wind farms toward ensuring that more of the wind-generated electricity can flow into power grids safely.

Governor LePage’s critical wind-power stance creating uncertainty

Source: Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine) • Posted: Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Recent statements from Gov. Paul LePage regarding wind energy are causing some angst in Maine’s wind power industry at a time changes in Augusta and Washington, D.C., are creating uncertainty over political support for renewable energy. Since his election in 2010, LePage has questioned the economics behind wind power as part of his administration’s focus on lowering energy costs for Maine ratepayers. But the Republican governor’s rhetoric has intensified in recent months, suggesting that the technology is increasing energy costs and padding the pockets of “special interests.”