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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

September 15, 2016

Plan Divvies Up Desert for Conservation, Energy Projects

BY ALICIA CHANG, The Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2016-09-15 06:55:52

Swaths of public land in the California desert will be opened to solar and wind farms under a federal plan released Wednesday that preserves much of the landscape for conservation and recreation. The long-awaited blueprint finalized by the U.S. Interior Department after a yearslong process seeks to balance renewable energy development and species protection on 17,000 square miles (44,030 sq. kilometers) of desert managed by the federal government.
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Interior finalizes massive Calif. desert management plan

Scott Streater, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2016-09-15 06:57:03

The Obama administration has finalized a plan designed to guide commercial-scale wind, solar and geothermal power development across millions of acres of Southern California desert. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today announced that her department has issued a record of decision (ROD) approving the proposal and three land-use plan amendments covering 10.8 million federal acres as part of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). [ read more … ]

The government just decided the future of California’s desert, and solar companies aren’t happy

By Chris Mooney, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2016-09-15 06:56:18

But the solar and wind industries, which had strongly criticized a prior version of the plan for cutting off development opportunities, expressed strong disappointment Wednesday. In a statement, Shannon Eddy, the executive director of the Large-Scale Solar Association, charged the plan “is a Model T in a Tesla world. Rather than fostering sustainable clean energy development as a part of a conservation plan, it severely restricts wind and solar.” [ read more … ]

Solar, wind developers: U.S. desert plan hurts renewable energy

By Nichola Groom, Reuters  •    •  Posted 2016-09-15 06:58:13

The United States on Wednesday unveiled a long-awaited plan for desert renewable energy development that the solar and wind industries said unfairly favors land conservation and severely limits the ability to build projects critical to meeting the nation’s climate goals. The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, eight years in the making, was designed to streamline development of wind and solar projects on federal and private lands in California while preserving pristine desert habitats. [ read more … ]

Solar Rooftop Revolution Fizzles in U.S. on Utility Pushback

By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2016-09-15 06:57:32

Rooftop solar, which has surged more than 1,000 percent since 2010, will barely grow at all next year. Residential installations are expected to increase by 21 percent this year, but in 2017 the figure will inch upward by about 0.3 percent. The change comes as utilities push back against mandates to buy the electricity and shifting tax policies curb demand. Throw in sliding electricity rates and it’s clear the economic benefits of rooftop panels are no longer so obvious to consumers. [ read more … ]

Mich. net-metering programs: small, growing and uncertain

Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2016-09-15 06:54:57

Utility net-metering programs in Michigan surpassed 2,000 customers for the first time since the programs were created by legislation in 2008. But the programs, among the many energy policies being debated in the Legislature, still represent just a tiny fraction of peak demand.
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Midwest legislators find second careers as utility regulators

Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2016-09-15 06:54:35

In four Midwestern states — Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas — former state legislators represent a majority on commissions. In three other states, commissions include at least one former state senator or representative. In all, of 10 Midwestern states where utility commissioners are appointed, about 40 percent of commissioners (15 of 37) previously served as state representatives or senators.
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China’s Electric Vehicle Industry Shaken by Scandal

By Joe McDonald, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2016-09-15 06:54:10

China’s booming electric vehicle industry, a flagship for Beijing’s technology ambitions, has been rocked by scandal after five companies were caught collecting millions of dollars in subsidies for buses they never made. The affair of the phantom buses has prompted questions about whether it might disrupt the ruling Communist Party’s financial support to an industry it is spending heavily to promote. [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.