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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

December 21, 2015

Congress clears spending, tax bills with bipartisan vote

Hannah Hess and Geof Koss, E&E reporters  •    •  Posted 2015-12-21 06:25:50

Speaking ahead of the vote, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the bill reflected tough compromises by both parties. “Crafting bipartisan legislation is hard, tedious work,” he said on the Senate floor. “It requires complex calibration of competing interests, needs and realities. The combined omnibus spending bill and tax extenders package is a perfect example of a bipartisan compromise brought in good faith.” [ read more … ]

Reid saw chance to tick off wish list in budget oil deal

BY TIMOTHY GARDNER, Reuters  •    •  Posted 2015-12-21 06:26:14

Reid, 76, was elected to the Senate in 1987 and will not seek re-election in November. “I thought, well, maybe this is an opportunity to do something good about things I’ve never been able to accomplish.” In agreeing to vote for a deal that killed the oil export ban, the Democrats extracted unprecedented five-year extensions to renewable energy tax credits that expired last year for wind, and were due to expire in 2016 for solar. The extensions provide Democrats and Obama ammunition in their strategy to reduce carbon emissions and temper climate change. Investors in renewables said they needed certainty about subsidies if the sector was to secure a greater share of the energy market. [ read more … ]

To Achieve Paris Climate Goals, U.S. Will Need New Laws

By DAVID GELLES, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2015-12-21 06:26:54

The climate agreement reached in Paris last weekend has been hailed as a landmark in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and it could well turn out to be one.
But the accord’s lofty goals won’t be achieved without large corporations making big changes. And while many companies have welcomed the deal and voluntarily pledged to cut emissions, the sweeping reforms required to avert a sharp rise in global temperatures will almost certainly require substantial new government regulations. [ read more … ]

Global clean energy push will spur GOP on climate — Obama

Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2015-12-21 06:27:21

“What I think people should also feel good about is that the agreement struck in Paris, although not legally binding when it comes to the targets that had been set, does create this architecture in which, all around the world, countries are saying this is where we’re going,” he said. “We’re going to be chasing after this clean energy future.” [ read more … ]

AP Investigation: US power grid vulnerable to foreign hacks

By Jonathan Fahey, The Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2015-12-21 06:26:35

Security researcher Brian Wallace was on the trail of hackers who had snatched a California university’s housing files when he stumbled into a larger nightmare: Cyberattackers had opened a pathway into the networks running the United States power grid. Digital clues pointed to Iranian hackers. And Wallace found that they had already taken passwords, as well as engineering drawings of dozens of power plants, at least one with the title “Mission Critical.” The drawings were so detailed that experts say skilled attackers could have used them, along with other tools and malicious code, to knock out electricity flowing to millions of homes. [ read more … ]

Solar power has lots of headroom to make it stronger, cheaper and global

Umair Irfan, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2015-12-21 06:28:05

On paper, the amount of sunlight hitting the Earth in one hour could fulfill humanity’s energy needs for a year, an equation that’s hard to ignore. However, harnessing more of this vast potential remains a major challenge, since the sun has to compete with coal, oil and natural gas — fuels that are abundant and cheap and retain substantial political support in many parts of the world, including the United States. Over the past few years, solar energy technologies, particularly photovoltaics, have rapidly closed the cost gap with fossil fuels and are being rushed into deployment. Yet solar panels still need to do much better if they’re going to take a meaningful bite out of greenhouse gas emissions. [ read more … ]

On the cusp of a boom, ‘soft costs’ pose a challenge for solar

Umair Irfan, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2015-12-21 06:28:29

olar energy is surging in the United States, but the biggest boost isn’t coming from better hardware. Instead, innovative business models and cutting red tape are the seeds that need to be planted for the solar energy sector to bloom. The technology behind solar power continues to ramp up in performance and drop in price. As it does so, the soft costs — permitting, financing, installation — are making up a bigger portion of the price tag for new projects. [ read more … ]

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