Data provided to Reuters by GTM Research, a clean energy market information firm, shows that eight of the 10 fastest-growing U.S. solar markets between the second quarters of 2016 and 2017 were Western, Midwestern or Southern states that voted for Trump, with Alabama and Mississippi topping the list. And solar firms are ramping up investments in these regions, signaling their faith that key renewable energy incentives will remain in place for years to come.
Lawmakers used a Thursday hearing with Energy Secretary Rick Perry to criticize his recent proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants with higher payments for their electricity. Numerous Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy subpanel, and one Republican, said the plan would be unnecessarily disruptive to energy market and prop up power plants that aren't competitive.“You are distorting the market, damaging the environment and delivering preferential treatment to favored industries,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), the top Democrat on the full committee, told Perry.“At the end of the day, killing off competitive electricity markets just to save generation assets that are no longer economical will lead to higher prices for consumers,” he said.Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) said the proposal doesn’t align with Perry’s free-market energy policies from his time as Texas’s governor.
Renewable energy advocates and stakeholders have found the current environment in Washington, DC, to be quite challenging, as it is increasingly complicated by the Trump administration’s moves to bolster fossil fuel technologies, while simultaneously attempting to diminish the benefits of cleaner alternatives. Action such as the formal effort to kill the Clean Power Plan (CPP), proposed rules that essentially subsidize coal and nuclear power generation, moves to reduce biofuel blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard, and a call for an end to tax credits benefiting renewable energy development are just some of the salvoes endured by clean energy advocates in recent weeks.It’s little wonder that those who recognize the need for clean energy – particularly America’s corporate interests – have turned to states to provide the policy foresight that can help them meet goals of reducing their carbon footprint and improving their bottom line – all while keeping the country on track toward a clean energy future armed with 21st-century energy technologies, tools and strategies.Even if federal agencies are ignoring marketplace reality, states, corporations and renewable energy advocates across all geographical and political spectrums, including 25x’25, will continue to pursue clean energy policies and goals that can create jobs, boost our economy, enhance our national security and make our world a better place to live.
It all depends on where you live. For California, repeal won’t make much difference. For West Virginia, it could matter a lot.When the Obama administration unveiled the Clean Power Plan in 2015, each state was given individual goals to slash power sector emissions. The aim was to shift utilities away from coal in favor of cleaner sources like natural gas, wind, solar and nuclear to help address global warming.Even though the rule has never taken effect — it was temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court in 2016 and is now slated for repeal by the White House — dozens of states were making that shift anyway, driven by economic considerations and local clean-energy policies.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Monday that the federal tax credits for the wind and solar power industries should be eliminated. Pruitt told a crowd at a Kentucky Farm Bureau event that the credits stand in the way of utility companies making the best decisions about power generation.“I would do away with these incentives that we give to wind and solar,” he said, referring to wind’s production tax credit and solar’s investment tax credit.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has rejected environmental plans by Duke Energy and three other energy companies to build an interstate pipeline to carry natural gas from West Virginia into North Carolina. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality said the 600-mile underground pipeline, which would travel through eight North Carolina counties, including Johnston and Nash, does not meet the state’s standards for erosion and sediment control. The agency has asked Charlotte-based Duke and its business partners to resubmit the application with additional information within 15 days, or to contest the agency’s disapproval and request a hearing within 60 days.
Kilbert says regardless of today's announcement, coal is being phased out by a lot of power companies, and it all comes down to money, "Coal irrespective of any environmental regulations is phasing out because of cheap natural gas along with solar and wind and other alternative energy sources." In spite of today's announcement, experts say abandoning the clean power plan probably won't change the long-term outlook for coal.
Many of Nebraska's neighbors are national leaders in wind energy, and advocates say the state could easily join them.But as wind energy has grown in Nebraska, so has a fervent resistance from mostly rural landowners and lawmakers who view the turbines as noisy, heavily subsidized eyesores that lead to lower property values.The pushback was clear last year, when Lancaster and Gage counties approved noise restrictions that effectively halted several proposed wind farms. At the state level, a Nebraska lawmaker is trying to temporarily stop commercial wind projects in the Sandhills.Wind energy advocates say much of the resistance is based on unfounded fears and resistance to change."I wouldn't want to contradict someone's personal experiences, but I do think some of the concerns are from emotional fears rather than actual reality," said David Bracht, director of the Nebraska Energy Office.Nebraska ranks fourth nationally in wind energy potential but 18th in the amount of electricity that it can produce with existing turbines, according to the American Wind Energy Association.The state had 744 turbines as of last year, compared to 3,976 in Iowa, 2,795 in Kansas, 1,913 in Colorado and 1,005 in coal-friendly Wyoming. South Dakota and Missouri had fewer turbines. Iowa ranks second nationally in the amount of installed wind capacity, behind Texas. Kansas ranks fifth.Wind energy growth has been sluggish in Nebraska in part because of state regulations. For example, until 2009, wind developers had no legal assurances that Nebraska's public power districts wouldn't seize their assets through eminent domain if they produced too much power.
At this time when farmers are suffering with low prices for corn and soybeans, the EPA is making a move that could cut the biodiesel mandate by as much as 315 million gallons. This is not good news for the biodiesel or ethanol businesses. It’s not good news for corn and soybean farmers. We thought the Renewable Fuels Standard and biofuels mandates were all settled for next year, but I guess we were wrong. Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said, “There is no rationale for further lowering either the 2018 advanced biofuel volume requirement or the total renewable fuel volume.”
Efforts underway from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to scale back the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would break repeated promises by President Donald Trump to protect the RFS. As part of a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) published by the agency on Oct. 4, EPA signaled that it is contemplating reducing proposed RFS volumes, including volumes that were finalized a year ago.