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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

June 2, 2015

Groups look to defuse disputes in emerging legislation 

Geof Koss and Hannah Northey, E&E reporters  •    •  Posted 2015-06-02 07:02:13

With lawmakers in both chambers prepping major energy bills for floor debate later this year, interest groups are scrambling to untangle policy disputes that threaten to ensnare key legislative priorities. Leaders of the primary House and Senate committees of jurisdiction have been careful to separate the more controversial policies — such as U.S. EPA’s push to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants — from the legislative push by focusing instead on less-contentious issues, such as infrastructure, efficiency and accountability, all of which are seen as capable of drawing bipartisan support. [ read more … ]

Without tax credit extensions, returns or PPAs for renewables will have to give, GAO says

By Michael Copley, SNL  •    •  Posted 2015-06-02 07:02:38

If Congress does not extend a pair of subsidies for the renewable energy industry, new construction will slow unless retail electricity providers pay significantly more for wind and solar power or developers forfeit a big chunk of their returns, the U.S. Government Accountability Office projected in a recent report. That analysis, included in a report responding to a congressional request for information on federal programs designed to support utility-scale power projects, comes as wind and solar lobbyists increase pressure on lawmakers to renew the production and investment tax credits. The production tax credit, which compensates developers $23 per MWh that a wind farm generates, expired at the end of 2014, while the 30% investment tax credit is scheduled to fall to 10% of project costs at the end of 2016. [ read more … ]

Texas passes bill giving PUC wind transmission oversight; bill to end RPS dies

By Platts  •    •  Posted 2015-06-02 07:03:16

A Texas bill to give the state Public Utility Commission oversight of transmission projects designed to export wind power from or into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas region is headed to the governor’s desk after being approved by the state’s House of Representatives. However, a Senate-passed bill that would have eliminated the state’s renewable portfolio standard and forbidden the PUC from either establishing new “competitive renewable energy zones” or approving new CREZ transmission lines was derailed by the House and is dead for this session.
[ read more … ]

Despite hostility toward EPA, Kan. will forge its own Clean Power Plan response 

Scott Detrow, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2015-06-02 07:03:38

When U.S. EPA announced its ambitious effort to cut the power sector’s carbon footprint 30 percent below 2005 levels over the next 15 years, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) called the proposed regulation “a war against middle America.” And yet, one day before he signed a new law eliminating his state’s renewable portfolio standard and replacing it with voluntary goals, the deeply conservative governor also signed a measure setting a path for Kansas to develop its own state implementation plan for the federal regulation. Brownback signed both measures into law last week. [ read more … ]

N.J. court deals another blow to offshore project 

Colin Sullivan, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2015-06-02 07:04:00

An offshore wind developer vying for the right to build a 25-megawatt wind farm off the coast of New Jersey lost an appeal in state court last week. Cape May, N.J.-based Fishermen’s Energy failed in its bid to overturn a Board of Public Utilities decision from last year that denies the company the right to start construction. BPU has maintained the power would be too expensive, despite the pledge of a $47 million federal grant to subsidize the project and statements in the past by Gov. Chris Christie (R) that he wanted the Garden State to be a leader on offshore wind. [ read more … ]

Utility regulators approve Minn.’s largest-ever solar project 

Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2015-06-02 07:04:28

Utility regulators gave final approval for what will become the largest solar power project in Minnesota, setting the state on a trajectory to become a bigger player in the nation’s fast-growing solar market. The $250 million Aurora Distributed Solar Project, to be built by Geronimo Energy, calls for installing ground-mounted arrays at 21 sites throughout southern and central Minnesota, according to proposals submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Construction is slated to begin this fall, with first power coming from the panels in 2016, officials said. Once built, the project will transfer in ownership to development partner Enel Green Power North America. [ read more … ]

As Tesla and others jump on batteries, market could stall its growth 

By Smith/Sweet, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted 2015-06-02 07:04:49

Billionaire entrepreneur and CEO Elon Musk of Tesla Motors Inc. envisions a world charged by solar and shaped by super batteries to store the excess energy. Whether people are willing to shell out lots of cash to turn homes into tiny, solar-powered entities boosted by battery storage is the big lingering question.
[ read more … ]

Cheap oil provides a drag rather than a boost 

Nathanial Gronewold, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2015-06-02 07:05:09

Cheaper crude oil and lower fuel prices at the pump have failed to lift the U.S. economy, according to the most recent federal government statistics. Rather, there’s mounting evidence that the oil price bust has been a net negative for the economy as a whole as business investment spending and state government revenues and spending have fallen.
Consumer spending is also lagging, meaning people are not using the money saved on gasoline and diesel purchases as much as observers had hoped. [ read more … ]

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