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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

May 7, 2014

U.S. Climate Has Already Changed, Study Finds, Citing Heat and Floods

By JUSTIN GILLIS, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2014-05-07 07:05:17

The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, scientists reported Tuesday, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects. Such sweeping changes have been caused by an average warming of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit over most land areas of the country in the past century, the scientists found. If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees by the end of this century. [ read more … ]

White House hopes report will create ‘sense of urgency’

Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2014-05-07 07:06:44

The White House is currently vetting an EPA rule for existing power plant emissions that is due to be proposed next month and is likely to face considerable industry push-back. The administration is also plotting a U.S. commitment for post-2020 emissions reductions — an offering that must be released well before next year’s U.N. climate talks in Paris but that is already arousing the suspicions of Capitol Hill Republicans. But while the battle lines are drawn in the Washington, D.C., standoff over these and other aspects of the president’s Climate Action Plan, the White House has spent much of the last year trying to circumvent the inside-the-Beltway logjam and make its case directly to the voters. [ read more … ]

With confirmation hearing set, Obama’s pick to lead agency faces uncomfortable questions

Hannah Northey, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2014-05-07 07:05:45

President Obama’s pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Norman Bay, appears to have garnered some heavy-hitting support on a Senate panel critical to his confirmation this month. But challenges — and tough questions — loom, as a company targeted for investigation by FERC raises objections over Bay’s leadership as the head of the agency’s enforcement office. On one hand, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the new chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, appears to have warmed to the former New Mexico prosecutor. The Senate panel is slated to consider Obama’s nomination of Bay to lead FERC on May 20, alongside the president’s nomination of Cheryl LaFleur, the agency’s acting chairwoman, to another five-year term. [ read more … ]

Utility-scale solar development in Iowa would need mandate

Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted 2014-05-07 07:07:11

Iowa’s push for renewable energy has sparked a $10 billion investment in wind energy capacity, a new report shows. But what about solar? Jonathan Weisgall, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs, said Iowa and other Midwestern states are unlikely to see large utilities invest in solar energy without setting standards that require it. Weisgall said regulators must weigh costs more heavily than developing renewable resources when electric generation is added in the Midwest. And solar energy isn’t cost-competitive with wind. [ read more … ]

Utilities, Experts Discuss Impact of Renewable Energy in Midwest

America’s Power Plan  •    •  Posted 2014-05-07 07:07:29

The Midwest has become a major energy producing region — with renewable energy. Like oil in Texas and coal in Wyoming, wind power and ethanol have become major industries in the Midwest. By tapping into its enormous renewable energy potential and manufacturing know-how, the Midwest has boosted the economy and created thousands of jobs. This progress is detailed in a new report from the Energy Foundation, which is featured as a “Postcard from the Future of Energy” by America’s Power Plan. [ read more … ]

$100M Maine wind farm faces rejection because of ‘scenic impacts’

Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2014-05-07 07:07:47

Some say that the visual impacts of wind turbines are “in the eye of the beholder.” But in Maine, a piece of legislation attempts to define when a wind farm mars the scenery and when it doesn’t. Recently, that law has been put to the test. A $100 million wind energy development in Maine proposed by the Boston-based company First Wind faces likely rejection by a state agency due to its effect on the surrounding area’s “scenic character.” Renewable energy advocates argue that such a decision could set a confusing precedent for future wind developers in the state. Last week, Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection delayed a decision to confirm or deny the state Department of Environmental Protection’s determination that the proposed Bowers Wind Project, a 16-turbine, 48-megawatt farm, would adversely affect views from the constellation of lakes, ponds and rivers that surround the project. [ read more … ]

Pioneering Cape Wind project announces it is now ‘litigation-free’

Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2014-05-07 07:08:03

The often-attacked Cape Wind offshore wind farm in Massachusetts’ Nantucket Sound scored another win in federal court Friday as a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit contending the state acted unconstitutionally by helping the project get a contract to sell electricity. “We are, at the moment, litigation-free,” said Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers — a situation that the private developers have not experienced in “many, many years,” he added. [ read more … ]

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