Renewable Energy

Debate still raging over wind farms and bird deaths

Argus Leader

The American Bird Conservancy’s notification that it intends to take legal action against the Interior Department for its move to issue 30-year wind farm permits has triggered a new round of debate and discussion over the issue of bird deaths, Gannett’s Argus Leader reports.

Massachusetts wants more solar energy projects

BOSTON (AP) — The Patrick administration is hoping to encourage the growth of solar energy projects on landfills, "brownfield" sites, and residential rooftops in Massachusetts.

The initiative is part of a larger program designed to reach 1,600 megawatts of installed solar capacity in the state by 2020.

The program also aims to ensure steady annual growth and control ratepayer costs. The administration said it's accepting applications for the program's second phase.

Office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Absent on efficiency bill vote, Murkowski avoids taking sides

The Senate vote Monday that failed to advance the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill revealed a split among its 14 co-sponsors, with three Republican supporters voting against a motion to end a Republican filibuster and move to final passage.

Among the others, 10 voted to stop the filibuster, leaving Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as the only one of the group to miss the vote. It was unclear which group she would have joined, as she declined on Tuesday to say whether how she would have voted on the motion. 

"I have not said how I would have voted," she remarked in the Capitol.

Wind energy line gets FERC nod

The Hutchinson News

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has granted approval for Clean Line Energy to start selling capacity from its proposed Grain Belt Express transmission line that runs east from Kansas, but the project still needs an OK from Missouri regulators, The Hutchinson News reports.

Toyota drops Tesla partnership, looks to fuel cell tech

The New York Times

With its RAV4 SUV failing to take off, Toyota has announced it’s dropping its partnership deal with Tesla, which makes the electric power train for the vehicle, and is turning instead to fuel cell technology, according to The New York Times, which says the Japanese automaker plans to release a fuel cell-powered sedan in California next year.

Solar industry seeks to salvage Mo. rebate effort

MAPLEWOOD, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's solar energy industry rallied Monday to resurrect a popular rebate program created by a 2008 renewable-energy ballot initiative that was curtailed when the state's largest utilities said they had to cease participation to avoid rate increases capped by the voter-approved law.

The Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association said its members will have to lay off thousands of workers if state lawmakers or the Missouri Public Service Commission don't fix an incentive program that provided up to $50,000 in rebates to customers who installed solar rooftop panels. Lawmakers are now in their final week of the annual legislative session.

Associated Press

Senate shelves Shaheen-Portman bill

Bipartisan energy efficiency legislation failed to advance in the Senate on Monday, as backers were unable to overcome a Republican filibuster. 

The 55-36 vote fell short of the 60-vote margin needed to end general debate.

The bill, by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, was expected to die after Republicans said last week they would not agree to an up-or-down vote offered by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. that did not allow them to offer amendments. 

The defeat also ends an offer by Reid to hold a separate vote on a Keystone XL pipeline approval bill by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Three of the seven Republican sponsors of the efficiency bill voted against the motion to end the filibuster. They were Hoeven, Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, and Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

The vote likely means no energy legislation will move in the Senate this year, outside of a bill to renew expired tax breaks that includes incentives for renewable energy production, alternative vehicles and biofuels.


DOE has more work ahead to revamp loan office, IG says

More than half of the planned reforms to Energy Department's controversial $30 billion loan guarantee program have yet to be completed, an internal watchdog reported Monday, even as Secretary Ernest Moniz moves to put billions of dollars behind more renewable and fossil energy projects.

Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman, in an audit report issued Monday, said that just four of 12 changes recommended by White House consultant Herb Allison two years ago are fully in place.

Senate Democrats

No deal in sight for Shaheen-Portman efficiency bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signaled Monday that no last minute deal was in the works to save a bipartisan energy efficiency bill from being killed by a Republican filibuster.

A vote planned for early evening was expected to end the bill's chances for debate and passage, and take with it Reid's offer to hold a separate vote on legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Lots of assumptions underlie SolarCity valuation

The Wall Street Journal

Given the complex financial model under which it operates, getting a valuation for SolarCity, which leases rather than sells panels to customers, is a difficult task, The Wall Street Journal reports.


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