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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

December 19, 2013

Baucus’ exit sets off game of musical chairs

Nick Juliano and Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2013-12-19 07:22:08

Baucus’ impending exit seems to put the final nail in the comprehensive tax reform coffin, at least for this term. The news broke less than six hours after he unveiled a widely anticipated draft bill to overhaul dozens of incentives for the energy sector. The proposal represented a radical rethinking of the tax code — and perhaps the most ambitious effort to shape energy policy since the failed effort to enact a cap-and-trade law in 2009 and 2010. Baucus envisioned replacing at least 42 existing incentives — some temporary, some permanent — with a trio of tax credits to promote clean electricity, clean transportation fuels and carbon capture and sequestration. The credits would have been allotted based on the greenhouse gas intensity of a given energy source and would be set to phase out when their targeted recipients — utilities, transportation or coal-fired power plants — achieved a 25 percent reduction in their emissions intensity [ read more … ]

Baucus proposal replaces dozens of energy breaks with credits for ‘clean’ fuel, electricity

Nick Juliano, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2013-12-19 07:22:37

A zero-emissions facility — such as a wind farm, solar facility or nuclear plant — would be eligible for a production credit of $23 per megawatt-hour through the first 10 years of a facility’s life, the same level as the current PTC. Or it could claim a one-time investment credit worth 20 percent of a facility’s costs, compared to the existing 30 percent ITC. [ read more … ]

A scramble for waning tax incentives as Congress mulls overhauling them

Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2013-12-19 07:23:49

With the clock ticking loudly on the U.S. wind energy sector’s production tax credit, which is set to expire Dec. 31, another blockbuster deal between two major wind energy firms materialized yesterday, as Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Enel Green Power North America Inc. cemented the terms of a 350-megawatt deal to significantly expand EGP’s wind energy portfolio in the United States. Denmark-based Vestas, whose U.S. operation includes large turbine, blade and tower manufacturing plants in Colorado, said it would supply 75 2 MW turbines to EGP’s $250 million Origin wind farm in Oklahoma, which is set to begin producing power by the end of 2014. [ read more … ]

Tax break for wind power is up in the air, advocates say

Written by CHRISTOPHER DOERING, Gannett Washington Bureau, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted 2013-12-19 07:24:18

Wind energy supporters said the industry could face a slowdown in 2014, and hundreds of workers could lose their jobs if Congress fails to renew a popular tax break credited with helping build the massive turbines spinning across the United States. The wind tax credit expired at the end of 2012 before being renewed early this year, but it appears set to lapse again at the end of December. Supporters, who include many Democrats and some Republicans, have worked to extend the tax credit into 2014 and beyond. [ read more … ]

Wind turbine maker hiring hundreds in Colo. as orders roll in

E&E Special  •    •  Posted 2013-12-19 07:24:41

Vestas Wind Systems A/S is hiring again at its Colorado factories after signing new orders for as much as 3,400 megawatts in North America this year. The Danish company signed a contract yesterday to deliver 175 turbines of its V100-2.0 MW model to Enel Green Power North America. The contract also entails an additional 636 MW of possible orders that Enel has the option of placing later (see related story). “We have 1,400 employees at four factories in Colorado at the moment, and we are hiring hundreds more to ensure that we can deliver the orders we got in North America,” said Morten Albaek, chief of marketing at Vestas. [ read more … ]

Surge Seen in U.S. Oil Output, Lowering Gasoline Prices

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and STANLEY REED, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2013-12-19 07:25:08

Domestic oil production will continue to soar for years to come, the Energy Department predicted on Monday, scaling to levels not seen in nearly half a century by 2016. The annual outlook by the department’s Energy Information Administration was cited by experts as confirmation that the United States was well on its way — far faster than anticipated even a year ago — to achieving virtual energy independence. The report predicted that the increase in United States production would contribute to a decline in the world oil benchmark price over the next few years to $92 a barrel in 2017 from a 2012 average of $112 a barrel, which should translate into lower prices at the pump for consumers. [ read more … ]

Germany Defends Surcharge Exemptions

By MELISSA EDDY, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2013-12-19 07:25:34

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany vowed Wednesday to fight a European Union investigation into her government’s policy of exempting hundreds of companies from a surcharge on electricity that is used to promote renewable resources. Ms. Merkel insisted that promoting solar and wind energy was crucial to German competitiveness, but she also noted that other issues were at stake. [ read more … ]

Furman says EPA carbon rules won’t hurt the economy

Evan Lehmann, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2013-12-19 07:26:13

The president’s top economic adviser said yesterday that limiting carbon emissions at power plants won’t dampen the nation’s financial recovery, noting that it’s “very easy” to create economic benefits in the future landmark regulations. The assertion by Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, foreshadows one of the thorniest challenges in crafting U.S. EPA’s standards to address rising temperatures: public concern about electricity prices and jobs. [ read more … ]

NRDC coalition unveils website to demystify federal transmission oversight

Hannah Northey, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2013-12-19 07:26:30

“Nearly all policies affecting electricity production and consumption — such as renewable energy and efficiency incentives, low-carbon standards and environmental protection laws — by definition impact use of the transmission grid,” Allison Clements, director of the coalition, said on the site. “FERC’s rules, which govern the operation of the grid, can either facilitate or create barriers to the success of these clean energy policies.” The groups’ focus on the agency highlights a growing interest in FERC as more companies and homeowners are enlisted to green their energy use, with many turning to distributed generation and energy conservation. [ read more … ]

Energy of the future may lie inside sea ice

By Sean Cockerham / McClatchy Washington Bureau  •    •  Posted 2013-12-19 07:26:46

Buried beneath the world’s oceans and the Arctic permafrost lies a global energy source that many think might dwarf today’s fracking revolution: huge reservoirs of natural gas trapped in ice crystals. They’re called methane hydrates and are sometimes known as “flammable ice.” If tapping methane hydrates ever becomes feasible, it once again would change the geopolitical map of the planet. Nations like Japan and India that lack their own conventional oil and gas resources suddenly could become energy power players. [ read more … ]

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