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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

January 15, 2016

Obama Administration Will Announce Halt on New Coal Leases

BY KEVIN FREKING, ASSOCIATED PRESS  •    •  Posted 2016-01-15 06:34:45

The Obama administration will announce a moratorium Friday on any major new coal leases on federal lands until it completes a comprehensive review of whether the fees charged to mining companies provide a fair return to American taxpayers and reflect coal’s impact on the environment. An administration official says companies will continue to be able to mine the coal reserves already under lease. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan hasn’t yet been formally announced. Roughly 40 percent of the coal produced in the United States comes from federal lands. The vast majority of that mining takes place in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. It’s unclear what impact the moratorium will have on many coal companies given the declining domestic demand for coal and the closure of numerous coal-fired power plants around the country. [ read more … ]

Senate bill ‘in the queue’ for floor time

Geof Koss, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2016-01-15 06:37:14

The bipartisan energy package that passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last summer is in line to see floor time, but the exact timing isn’t yet set, according to a Senate GOP aide. “ENR is in the queue and our staff is preparing for floor action,” Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Senate Energy Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), said today in an email, adding that a date has not been set but it could come up “soon.” [ read more … ]

After SOTU, preparing for the next fossil fuel fight

Brittany Patterson and Evan Lehmann, E&E reporters  •    •  Posted 2016-01-15 06:36:38

nvironmentalists and industry groups alike are speculating on what the president has in store next for oil and coal after a seemingly nebulous statement he made during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. “Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels,” Obama said. Offering his only climate change policy prescription of the evening, he added, “That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.” [ read more … ]

DOE to invest $220M in upgrades

Christa Marshall, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2016-01-15 06:37:53

The Department of Energy released a new multiyear plan to modernize the electric grid in conjunction with up to $220 million in planned investments. Speaking at a utility control center in Miami, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the financial awards would support research and development over three years in advanced storage systems and other grid modernization projects at DOE’s national laboratories and their partners. About half of the money is available now, with much of the rest contingent on annual congressional appropriations, according to a DOE spokesman. [ read more … ]

Could renewable energy tech eliminate utilities?

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted 2016-01-15 06:38:20

Zichal, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, said she recently visited China and met with some business leaders. “They know the way they’re currently doing business is not sustainable. It’s not sustainable from a health perspective. It’s not sustainable from an economic perspective and it’s not sustainable from an environmental perspective,” said Zichal, a former adviser to President Barack Obama. “The entire business community is on board” to cut greenhouse gases that scientists say contribute to global warming. And the government is behind them, she said. “You don’t see businesses and government out there saying, ‘We’re behind new regulations.’ [ read more … ]

What’s in a ‘subsidy’? Fla. may soon find out

Kristi E. Swartz, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted 2016-01-15 06:36:01

A utility-backed constitutional amendment for rooftop solar is just 75,000 signatures away from the threshold it needs to go before Florida voters in November. But if there’s any new policy to expand Florida’s rooftop solar market, then taxes, fees or a redesign of customer rates are certain to follow. [ read more … ]

Reports: Ohio energy standard costs lower than previously thought

By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News  •    •  Posted 2016-01-15 06:35:32

As Ohio lawmakers continue to debate the state‚Äôs renewable energy standards, a pair of recent reports show the costs of complying with the laws are significantly lower than previously thought. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) issued its final alternative energy compliance report for the year 2013 last week on the same day that the Department of Energy announced new reports showing that renewable energy standards produced nationwide benefits worth more than seven times their costs in 2013. [ read more … ]

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