U.S. Energy News

Top GOP presidential hopefuls disappoint Iowans on clean energy

CARBON CUTS: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, headed by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), will hold a third hearing next week to scrutinize the EPA’s proposed limits on carbon emissions. (The Hill)

SOLAR:
• A campaign by electric utilities and their fossil-fuel supporters to stop home solar has shifted to public utility commissions, where industry backers have mounted a successful push for fee hikes that could put solar panels out of reach for many potential customers. (Washington Post)
• Whether on the grid or off, industry watchers say sun-powered systems and other new technologies are changing the game for centralized utilities like the Public Service Company of New Mexico. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

WIND: Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush told an audience in the Iowa, where the wind industry supports about 4,000 jobs, that it’s time to get rid of the federal tax credit for wind energy. (Market Watch)

ETHANOL: 
• Ted Cruz and Rick Perry brought their presidential pitches before the Iowa Ag Summit Saturday, but both were unapologetic in their opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard that sustains the state’s corn-ethanol industry. (The Texas Tribune)
• After their weekend visits to Iowa, Republican presidential hopefuls have left an opening for Democrat Hillary Clinton to soothe rural Iowans’ discontent over EPA ethanol standards. (National Journal)

NUCLEAR: Washington state’s senate voted 27-21 to pass a measure Friday advancing small-scale nuclear reactors as part of the state’s future energy mix. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• NextEra Energy, the biggest North American generator of wind and solar power, wants to buy a 250-megawatt coal-fired electricity plant in Florida for $520.5 million just to shut it down. (Bloomberg)
• A new report suggests that integrating more wind energy could helps states lower overall costs and emissions, while enabling more coal power plants to remain in operation. (CleanTechinca)

THE GRID: St. Louis-based utility Ameren Corp., which will spend $1.4 billion to build a new 380-mile transmission line, is one of many utilities and independent transmission developers investing billions to connect a build-out of wind power in the sparsely populated Great Plains to urban America. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

CARBON TRADING: Louisiana could earn up to $1.6 billion for coastal restoration projects over the next 50 years by selling credits for storing carbon in wetlands to businesses that must reduce carbon emissions in California. (The Times-Picayune)

TEXAS:  In a review of Texas’ state-run website PowertoChoose.org, three of the 10 lowest-priced electricity plans offered in Dallas last week were 100-percent renewable-energy plans.

MICHIGAN: A group of residents in Michigan’s Leelanau Township are finalizing a goal of becoming a 100 percent clean-energy community, with help from a team of graduate students from the University of Michigan. (Midwest Energy News)

FLORIDA:
• Employees of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have been ordered not to use the terms “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails or reports, according to former DEP employees. (Tampa Bay Times)
• Conservative solar proponents have accused Americans For Prosperity of launching a “campaign of deception” against a ballot petition that would allow those in Florida who generate electricity from the sun to sell that power directly to others. (Tampa Bay Times)

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